Press Release
July 4, 2018

Villar pushes farmers resiliency to mitigate impact of climate change to agriculture

Climate change impacts directly on food production and security, Sen. Cynthia A. Villar said as she stressed the need for agriculture players to be more resilient and better prepared for extreme shifts in weather conditions.

Villar, who is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said the Philippines is highly vulnerable to climate change and the most affected are farmers groups.

Stressing the correlation between food security and environmental protection, Villar said it is important that farmers learn new techniques that will help them adapt to extreme weather changes.

'There is a serious concern about food security worldwide. Global population is expected to reach over nine billion in 2050. There is a need to increase food production by 60 per cent to cope with the rising population in all countries,' she said.

Villar said Filipino farmers should learn sustainable and smart agriculture, particularly climate-resilient agricultural procedures, to be able to meet growing demands and to maximize their earnings.

She cited discussions with food experts saying 'small farmers in developing countries like the Philippines have inadequate capacities to respond to requirements of the market such as quality of produce, delivery of reliable quantities at the appointed time and schedules and the like because they do not have enough technical know-how on the system.

To help farmers cope with the impact of climate change and to generate additional income from farming, Villar partnered with Villar SIPAG and the Agricultural Training Institute and launched the Climate-Smart Farm Business SchooL or CSFBS.

The CSFBS training program was primarily developed to upgrade the awareness and understanding of farmers and farm owners of the impacts of climate change and to help them adapt and reduce their vulnerability.

Among the topics included in the CSFBS trainings are climate-smart agriculture, agro-ecology and other similar concepts.

The sixth (6th) batch of CSFBS trainees have just completed their training. The group is composed of 50 farm school owners from Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, La Union and Benguet.

Aside from addressing climate change, the CSFBS likewise taught agricultural workers knowledge on farming business and how to enhance their skills and techniques in planning and managing their farms as business units linked to markets. The farm business school aspect of the training, according to Villar, will help farmers manage their farms as a business and teach them financial literacy, marketing, ensuring profitability, and how to assess risks, among others.

'Naparakami ng oportunidad sa agriculture-related businesses at lalo na sa farm tourism na napakapopular na. So, we want to increase the competence of farmers to help them be more competitive and to seize new opportunities,' said Villar, who is the author of RA 10816, or the Farm Tourism Development Act, which promotes the establishment of at least one farm school and farm tourism camp in every province.

'Malaki ang potensyal ng kombinasyon ng agriculture at tourism para maisulong ang iba't ibang layunin natin para makatulong sa ating mga kababayan at sa ating bayan. Lalo pa at ang mga farmers at fisherfolks ay nananatiling isa sa pinakamahirap sa ating bansa. Kaya naman prayoridad ko talaga bilang chairperson ng Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food na tulungan sila na umangat mula sa kahirapan,' she added.

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