Press Release
July 19, 2016

Villar SIPAG opens farm school in Bulacan

Consistent with her vision to make learning sites more accessible to farmers, Sen. Cynthia Villar today led the opening of a farm school in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan.

The farm school is the second site of Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance), a foundation initiated by the Villar Family headed by former Senate President Manny Villar and Corporate Social Responsibility arm of real estate giant Vista Land.

"We are calling on our farmers, farm workers as well as individuals in agriculture-related industries to take advantage of our free on-site trainings, which can help them boost their income as agricultural entrepreneurs," Villar said.

Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the farm school aims to provide technical expertise and knowhow in mechanization to Filipino farmers to be able to make them more competitive and successful.

"We partnered with reputable organizations to help marginalized small-scale farmers become self-sufficient by equipping them with latest knowledge in agricultural technology," she added.

Through Villar's initiative, the Technical Education and Skills Development Administration has allotted P500 million to fund 45,000 scholars at P12,000 each in agriculture courses. She is now encouraging farm owners to convert their farms into farm schools, teach farmers and children of farmers and avail of these scholarships.

Joining Villar during the launching program was Department on Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol. Representatives from partner organizations Macondray Plastic, Allied Botanical Corporation, East West Seeds, Bureau of Animal Industry and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also graced the event. The opening of the farm coincided with the launching of the first batch of trainees on vegetable production, which will be participated in by 200 farmer-trainees from Central Luzon provinces.

The training, called "Vegetable Gardening for Food Security," will be conducted in partnership with Macondray Plastics Products, Inc. under its MacPlas Urban Organic Agriculture Advocacy.

The 4-hectare Villar SIPAG Farm School in Bulacan has a training area, a dormitory with nine double-deck beds, farm house and kitchen area. It also features a vermi- composting facility, kitchen waste composting facility, greenhouse, starting livestock of native chicken and swine, and aquaculture of red tilapia.

Similar to the first farm school, it will also promote the Farm Business School modules of the Agri-business Training Institute and the United Nations' (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that will enable farmers to operate their family farms as business enterprises and increase their income potential, which will also further develop the agriculture sector and pave the way for inclusive growth.

The first Villar SIPAG farm school is located in the boundary of Las Piñas and Bacoor City. Since its opening in 2015, it has given numerous trainings on vegetable production, mushroom production, livestock and poultry production, sweet corn production, orchid cultivation, bamboo propagation, cut flower production, charcoal making and beekeeping to farmers around Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.

"It is crucial to continuously help our farmers and fisherfolks to have access to trainings. We need learned individuals to take care of the farms so that they can produce more food for the future generations," Villar said.

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