BAUKO, Mountain Province – “Put up farm schools for our people!”
This was the encouragement of Senator Cynthia Villar when she graced the 13th Begnas Festival di Bauko as the keynote speaker.
Villar is the author of Farm Development Tourism Act of 2016 or “An Act Providing for the Development and Promotion of Farm Tourism in the Philippines.”
One provision of the law is the establishments of Farm Tourism schools in the country. For Bauko which is the prime vegetable producer in the province, the establishment of a farm school is fitting and appropriate.
“If you have a farm school, you will be supported by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” she averred.
It was learned that the school could have a minimum of 25 students and will be paid P100,000 a month by TESDA P100,000 as assistance.
Addressing the iBaukos, she said that farm schools will sustain farming and enhance the production of food.
She informed that world population in 2050 will grow from 7 million to 9 million and food production will have to increase otherwise there will be food shortage worldwide.
According to the United Nation Food and Agricultural Organization, she said, “we have to increase food production by 70 percent”.
Meanwhile, there are already two learning sites in the province duly accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the Layog Country Farm in Tadian and the Ola Coffee Farm in Northern Sagada.
These two learning sites cater to students, researchers, visitors, and tourists who avail of the services offered by these learning sites. However, they are not yet declared as farm schools.
In a separate earlier event, Jovy Ganongan, OIC Regional Director of DOT-CAR, intimated that farmers can generate more income from Farm Tourism and to be competitive not only locally, but may be globally.
In an overview on the Farm Tourism Act, Angela Fagutao of the DOT-CAR emphasized Farm Tourism is a harvest of opportunities for the farmers to become entrepreneurs in the marriage between agriculture and tourism.
Another objective of Farm Tourism is to educate and encourage the youth to engage in agriculture by making it lucrative and enticing. Further, promotion of best practices assuring continuity in agriculture and ensuring food security for the country.
Farm Tourism is touted to be the newest program being promoted by the Department of Tourism led by Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, a long time undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture.
By Roger Sacyaten