Press Release
June 3, 2018

Empower Filipino farmers - Villar

CITING the statement of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that family farms will feed the world (not the corporate farms) since 70 percent of food consumed globally comes from small farmers, Senator Cynthia A. Villar called on everyone to help and empower our farmers.

As chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food for five years now, Villar said this is also one of the pillars of her legislative priority- empowering Filipino farmers.

Villar said there is a need to teach small farmers capacity-building strategies and approaches to get them into operating their small farms as agri-businesses and to make them competent and competitive in it.

In her speech during the Department of Tourism- Farm Tourism Regional Consultative Workshop at the Sonrisa Farm in Naga City, Villar also mentioned about the need to make entrepreneurs out of farmers.

"And I believe continuing education and training is the key," said Villar adding that based on studies, among the barriers that keep Filipino farmers from being more successful are lack of technical expertise, inadequate access to socialized credit and lack of mechanization and financial literacy or business sense.

"That is what I have been doing in my personal capacity as well as through the legislations I have been pursuing and programs I have been implementing through the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) and its two farm schools in Cavite and Bulacan," related the senator.

Recognizing the huge potential for growth in combining agriculture and tourism, Villar said they also boost training and education under the Farm Tourism Development Law.

The Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and TESDA have been encouraging farm tourism camps to become learning sites and accredited extension service providers.

She said the Farm Tourism Development Law also provides that TESDA shall accredit farm tourism camps as technical vocational institutions for agriculture and tourism courses.

As primary author of the Farm Tourism Development Law or Republic Act (RA) 10816, Villar said she is happy that it benefits our farmers and other stakeholders in this sector.

"After all, the key essence of the Farm Tourism Development Law is for the government to "recognize that tourism, coupled with agriculture extension services, to disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country, to serve as a catalyst for the development of agriculture and fishery communities, and to provide additional income for farmers, farm workers, and fisherfolk," she said.

The three major goals of its law are: to improve to country's economy and agricultural communities and to give additional income to our farmers, agri workers and fishermen.

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