Press Release
October 6, 2015

Villar welcomes CHED commitment to teach 20,000 scholars farm mechanization, financial literacy

Sen. Cynthia Villar said 20,000 scholars will be taught courses on agriculture by state universities and colleges (SUC) all over the country.

This is the commitment given by Comm. Ruperto Sangalang of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) during the Senate hearing on the proposed P10.5 billion budget of CHED for next year.

"This commitment is good news for our farmers and their children who want to learn the latest practices in farming, including farm mechanization and information on how to avail of the services of credit providers," Villar said.

During the hearing, Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, expressed disappointment over SUC's failure to teach more farmers.

Villar said P500 million has been set aside in the budget of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to teach 45,000 scholars agriculture-related courses but only 4,000 scholarships were used.

"The opportunity is there, all they have to do is get accredited to teach these courses and TESDA will pay for it. These are scholarships that did not come from the budget of SUCs," she stressed.

Villar said only the SUCs have the network to reach farmers in the countryside with 454 campuses spread out in the different parts of the country.

"Our farmers say they cannot afford to study because they cannot pay for the tuition and the transportation expenses. This is our solution--free and special courses in schools within their communities," she said.

The Nacionalista Party senator said based on a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, among the barriers that keep Filipino farmers and agri-related industry players from being more successful are the lack of ability and technology to mechanize and the lack of access to socialized credit.

"These problems can be addressed through education and I am glad CHED committed to help us teach farmers and fisherfolks courses that will help them become more competitive, especially in the face of the ASEAN economic integration," Villar said.

"CHED's help is needed in reducing poverty by educating small farmers and fishermen in their extension program. Our farmers need to learn how to make use of basic technology on farming and how to turn their farms into small businesses," she added.

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