Press Release
December 6, 2016

Villar welcomes plan to launch 3-year agri degree program

Sen. Cynthia Villar welcomed the Commission on Education's (CHED) plan to introduce a 3-year degree program on agriculture to draw the Filipino youth into farming.

CHED chief of Research Management Division Custer Deocaris disclosed that there's a proposal to roll out a 3-year degree program to encourage the children of farmers to venture into farming. CHED also conducted a national extension conference on higher education to urge schools to create extension projects to bring teachers and scientists closer to communities.

"Our farmers are 50 years old on the average, thus the need to nourish interest of the youth on farming. We see this as a serious concern and appreciated that CHED is introducing this degree program and exercising its extension services for the benefit of farmers and fisherfolks," Villar, vice chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, said.

Under the proposal, Deocaris said initially, students will be taught farming-related theories. The second year will be spent in the field as part of their on-the-job (OJT) training. In their third year, students will work on their research or thesis focusing on agricultural entrepreneurship.

The Bureau of Plant Industry is also working with the Department of Education to bring back gardening classes at the elementary level starting academic year 2017-2018.

Villar also agreed to CHED's proposal to increase the number of techno-demo farms as part of universities' extension programs. The lady senator has been pushing for the establishment of farm schools all over the country, even urging state universities and colleges (SUC) to teach the farmers and beneficiaries courses on agriculture and financial literacy.

"SUCs, aside from their mandate of instruction and research, also have the mandate for extension services to help communities around them. With more than 450 campuses nationwide, they are the ones closer to our farmers in the provinces," Villar said.

Villar, who was chairperson of the Committee on Technical and Higher Education when she was Las Pinas Representative, said more schools and educational institutions are needed to host scholarships on agriculture training.

In fact, in Republic Act 10816 or the Farm Tourism Development Act, which Villar principally authored as then chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, the establishment of at least one tourist farm in every province is mandated.

Villar has etablished two farm schools, one in Las Piñas and one in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, where training courses such as urban gardening, organic farming, vegetable growing, mushroom production, honey bee production, corn production, livestock raising, and many more were regularly held.

Last October, the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) Farm School, in partnership with government agencies, opened its facilities to drug surrenderees in Las Piñas under the program Sagip Bukas where agricultural activities are offered as a rehabilitation track for drug dependents.

Villar reiterated that the law extending the life of the Agricultural Competitiveness Efficiency Fund (RA 10848) allocated 10 percent of the fund to scholarship program for farmers and beneficiaries. P500 million was also provided in the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) budget for 45,000 scholars of agriculture-related courses.

TESDA has introduced scholarships on agriculture and fishery mechanization such as Farm Machinery Operations, Farm Machinery Servicing, Drying and Milling Processing Plant Servicing, Irrigation System Installation and Maintenance, Aquaculture NC III (Mechanization), Biogas Systems Installation and Maintenance, and Dairy Processing.

News Latest News Feed