Press Release
September 15, 2015

Villar SIPAG opens urban farm school

Sen. Cynthia Villar leads today the inauguration of the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) urban farm school in Bacoor, Cavite-Las Pinas boundary.

"The establishment of a farm school in our area that will help our residents is a realization of one of my objectives as a public servant and as a social entrepreneur from Las Pinas," Villar said.

Initially, the school has a classroom that can accommodate 50 persons and adequate office tools. It features organic farming and showcases the use of alternative source of energy such as solar lamp post and windmill power for deep-well water source. It also has water impounding equipment and a hand tractor.

In time for the farm school inauguration, the holding of the 97th Batch of Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan farmers training program and the release of a book on the bambusetum were also announced.

Villar SIPAG partnered with SM Foundation, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, Department of Agriculture and the Department of Social Welfare and Development in providing the 3-month training program for about 200 farming beneficiaries from Las Pinas, Bacoor and Imus.

"I believe helping farmers and fisherfolks, who comprise majority of our population and who are among the poorest, is as "inclusive" as we can get. Because the essence of inclusive growth is ensuring that the growth of the economy reaches the masses and the poorest of the poor," Villar said.

SM Foundation's Farmers' Training Program aims to upgrade the agricultural knowledge of small-scale farmers in order to produce quality, safe, high-value, and high-yielding fruits and vegetables while teaching them to become self-sufficient.

For 12 weekly sessions, scholars are trained on the proper way of planting through lessons in modern farming methods and technologies. Sessions also include values formation, capability building and social entrepreneurship. Farmers are also provided with opportunities to create market linkages through the SM Food Group's suppliers.

"Based on studies, among the barriers that keep Filipino farmers and agri-related industry players from being more successful are lack of technical expertise and lack of mechanization. These are two things that training sessions at the Villar SIPAG farm school aim to provide participants," Villar said.

The inauguration was also attended by Cristie Angeles, AVP, SM Foundation, Inc., Arsenio Barcelona, president, Harbest Agribusiness Corporation, Ella Guinto, municipality agriculturist of Bacoor, Mrs Imelda Aguilar, wife of Mayor Aguilar of Las Pinas and all the barangay captains, principals and homeowners associations of Las Pinas.

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