Press Release
March 7, 2015

Villar pushes for tech-voc in agri-fisheries

Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, pushes for the implementation of tech-voc in agri-fisheries to spur agricultural growth, and get farmers and fishermen out of poverty.

"I am happy that our partner-organizations--TESDA and CHED, focus on the agri-fisheries sector.

We are all aware that our farmers and fishermen are two of the poorest in the country," said Villar as she noted the high poverty incidence in the industry.

She said there are two-pronged assistance in the development and implementation of tech-voc education in agri-fisheries sector.

First, this will be a good alternative for children of farmers and fishermen to acquire significant trainings if they can't afford to enroll in a college course.

Secondly, it will encourage interest and involvement, particularly among the youth and urban dwellers, in the agricultural field.

She noted that various sectors have expressed concern over the aging Filipino farmers (with average age of 57) amid the lack of interest of their children.

"And it seems their children or the younger generation, in general, are not interested in agriculture, whether fishing or farming. So I hope the tech-voc courses or programs will lure them to become interested in agriculture," said the senator.

The senator believes the youth can be enticed in the industry by changing limited view on it, and making it an attractive proposition to them.

She cited the need to inculcate in the minds of the youth that agriculture is no longer about physically tilling or plowing the land--the stereotypical image of people about farmers. It is about considering their farms as small businesses like maintaining and operating farm machineries and financial literary and enterprises.

"I am sure there are many courses related to agri-fisheries sector," she said.

Saying there's a study that farmers are not competitive due to lack of mechanization and socialized credit, Villar said this is another field that can be strengthened through related courses.

"We also have organic farming, composting and urban agriculture that can help in environmental protection," she said.

She said there are also opportunities in farm tourism, which is picking up.

"We can offer accounting financial literacy and entrepreneurship course. We have discovered about the absence of socialized credit in Landbank because farmers do not know how to fill up application for loans. We can help them with that problem," she further stated.

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