Press Release
December 10, 2015

Villar SIPAG farm school offers training on mushroom production

The first urban farm school located at the Bacoor, Cavite-Las Pinas boundary opened its doors to 50 farmers and offered free training on mushroom production.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and director of Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) welcomed the participants from Cavite and Laguna.

"Growing mushroom is easy and relatively cheap that is why it is considered as a viable agricultural enterprise. This is a crop that farmers can feed their families and can also be sold," Villar said.

Villar said through the seminar Villar SIPAG conducted in partnership with the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)- Regional Training Center IV-A, farmers were introduced into the profitable agri-venture of mushroom culture.

The one-day program through lecture-discussion and hands-on training taught farmers the procedures on mushroom production; promote healthier environment by using agricultural wastes such as rice straw and dried banana leaves for mushroom production; compute the income that will be generated from the products; and put up their own mushroom culture projects.

The Villar SIPAG Farm School was established in line with the vision of Villar to provide continuous training and education to farmers and fisherfolks and their families as well as residents of agricultural communities in Metro Manila and nearby cities and provinces.

The 7-hectare farm school has a classroom that can accommodate 100 students, two dormitories that can accommodate 50 students, administration office, staff and workers house, farm house for entertaining, bambusetum, medicinal herbal garden, tree nursery, greenhouses (for seedlings, strawberries and flowers), vegetable garden, livestock, vermicomposting and aquaculture facilities.

When it opened in September, the farm school partnered with SM Foundation Inc. and Harbest Agribusiness Corporation in providing a 12-week training program to about 200 farming beneficiaries from Las Pinas, Bacoor and Imus.

Another training program was in partnership with Allied Botanical Corporation for 200 farming beneficiaries from Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pateros, Paranaque and Dasmarinas, Cavite.

Scholars are trained on 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 various partner suppliers. "One of the primary reasons why we built this farm school is to be able to bridge the gap that would enable Filipino farmers and agri-related industry players to be more competitive and successful, which is lack of technical expertise and knowhow in mechanization," Villar said.

The Nacionalista Party senator also said she supports the Farm Business School modules of ATI and the United Nations' (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that will enable farmers to operate their family farms as business enterprises and increase their income potential, which will also further develop the agriculture sector and pave the way for inclusive growth.

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