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Villar eyes family farm schools in 1,489 towns

Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star) - April 30, 2016 - 10:00am

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – A family farm school is being eyed in all 1,489 municipalities in the country to teach local farmers adopt to  new and modern technology.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture, said she would  pursue this initiative so that more farmers could avail of right technologies and adjust to mechanization.

“By having a farm school, farmers will acquire business sense,” Villar said, adding these pocket farms have the potential to prosper if only they are properly harnessed.

She said farmers should be “agri-preneurs” who not only possess business acumen but also financial literacy, technology and mechanization. “Educating the farmers is the key to propel them to sustained development,” she added.

Villar said one of the farm schools that is ready to provide the necessary educational tools for farmers is the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) which contributes significantly to the continuing progress of the local dairy industry.

She said the PCC could evolve and become the best dairy tourism farm in the country in line with proposals to adopt a farm tourism policy in the country.

Villar underscored the PCC’s role following a keynote speech during the three-day 19th Dairy Congress and Expo (DairyConEx) held recently at the Negros Oriental Convention Center in Dumaguete City.

She stressed that the PCC has consistently supported dairy farming families in the countryside through support mechanisms in the areas of knowledge sharing, research, technologies, extension, production and management, product development, and market assistance.

Following PCC’s lead, Villar said more dairy industry players should focus on establishing a tourism farm which aims to teach farmers how to earn from their small farms and become teachers of best practices as well to their colleagues.

She added that a proposed Farm Tourism bill seeks to increase  farmers’ incomes by engaging in multiple business opportunities springing from agricultural tourism.

She encouraged farmers to become teachers of technologies and practices and get themselves accredited with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to convert their farms into learning centers for farming.

Earlier, Villar facilitated the release of a P500-million funding package for TESDA agricultural training where all interested teachers of agriculture can get accreditation.

PCC executive director Arnel del Barrio said the center was spearheading initiatives to conserve, propagate and promote the Philippine carabao as a source of milk and  meat, and serve as the lead agency for livestock biotechnology. 

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said a progressive dairy industry was key to countryside economic development. He said continuous support will be given to dairy farmers through the provision of the best technologies and technical and capability enhancement assistance from production to processing and marketing.

Alcala said the dairy industry should focus on producing quality milk to enable the Philippines to capture a significant share in the world market.

The  dairy congress aims to encourage people to go into dairying to create wealth, livelihood and share the benefits of economic development nationwide.

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