Press Release
August 29, 2013


Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, expressed support to new generation of entrepreneurs - the agri-preneurs.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Management Association of the Philippines Agri Business and Countryside Development Foundation at Metropolitan Club in Makati, Villar emphasized the importance of cultivating an agri-entrepreneurial mindset among the farmers and the youth.

"We are an agricultural country and majority of our people are in agriculture-related jobs and businesses. I believe that technological innovation and entrepreneurial mindset can propel the agriculture sector to greater heights," Villar said.

Villar revealed her concern about Filipino farmers getting old, and their children or the younger generation in general seem not interested in agriculture or farming.

"We can entice the youth into agriculture by changing people's limited view about the sector and making it an attractive proposition, that it is not only about physically tilling or plowing the land -- the stereotypical image of people about farmers. While that is a major aspect of it, there is of course more to agriculture than that," said Villar.

"Ang pagpapaunlad ng sektor pang-agrikultura ay susi para masolusyunan ang kahirapan sa bansa," Villar added.

She cited the latest poverty statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) for the first quarter of 2012 wherein the agricultural provinces of Benguet (4.3%) and Nueva Vizcaya (17%) have lower percentages of poverty incidence than known tourism-focused provinces such as Aklan (21%), Bohol (32.5%), Cebu (22.4%) and Palawan (25.2%).

"I really believe that the agriculture sector will be able to generate more revenues for the Philippines, if it will be backed by adequate budget and effective programs. We need to help Filipino farmers to be more productive and globally competitive. The government should subsidize agriculture in order for farmers to be competitive," said Villar.

Moreover, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture vowed to review the implementation of Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) or R.A. 8435. AFMA calls for the allocation of at least P20 billion a year for agriculture modernization-related programs and projects.

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