AN AGRIBUSINESS graduate from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (XU) ranked seventh in the agriculturist licensure examination given last year.  

Jay Vencint Zulita, 20, was among the 1,888 examinees who passed.

Also in the top 10 are seven students from five Mindanao schools: University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, Central Mindanao University (CMU) in Bukidnon, Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi, Agribusiness Marine & Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) in Mati, Davao Oriental and Xavier in Cagayan de Oro City.

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) said 6,080 examinees took the test.

Zulita said he found the examination “very challenging since I’m not an agriculture science major. The exam was too technical while I only learned the basics taught to us in our agriculture science course. I took up the agribusiness program. We were taught mostly on the principles of business behind agriculture.”

Zulita wanted to take up accounting but he did not make the 90 percentile ranking required for the course.

One of the counselors recommended he take up Agribusiness, a program similar to accountancy but focused on agriculture, he said.

Zulita said he had to maintain his scholarship because his family could not afford to shoulder his schooling.

His mother is a clerk at the municipality of Salay, while his father has a backyard piggery.

He has three siblings, one in college and another in high school, and a six-month-old baby.

“I have seen how difficult the lives of the farmers are, including my father who is raising four children. I am the eldest and my siblings are also attending school. The scholarship really helped a lot especially that it is an Ateneo education,” he said.

There were times when he had to borrow money from relatives for fare to attend school.

Zulita also borrowed the P7,500 for review classes.

He said agriculture presents a wider range of opportunities. “Most people perceive that agriculture is about mud, planting, “daro-daro” (plowing) but it’s not,” he said.

Zulita said farmers are looked down on, when in fact “without agriculture and the farmers, the Philippines is not Philippines as agriculture is the backbone of our economy.”

He dream helping improve the lives of the farmers.

Zulita likened the farmers’ situation to “ikaw ang nagtanim, iba ang kakain,” adding that government intervention is key to alleviate the lives of the farmers, “para maprotektahan ang mga farmers from capitalists.”

He believes it is the government’s duty to reach out to the farmers and protect their rights.

At the moment, he plans to work at the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Inobulan, Salay, since he believes their municipality has a big potential for agriculture venture.

He encouraged high school graduates and other students to take up agriculture, saying it is a way to help the country and “an area for us to grow and inspire others.”