• Lawmaker calls for agri manpower program

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    A bill that would create a manpower development plan for agricultural entrepreneurship has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

    AAMBIS-Owa party-list Rep. Sharon Garin, who is also Deputy Speaker, authored House Bill 3354, otherwise known as the Entrepreneurial Education Act. The bill is currently pending with the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.

    “Despite the great contribution of the agricultural sector to our economy, agriculture is still often equated with poverty and having an underprivileged status,” Garin said. “We want to remove the stigma that agriculture is less of a profession or a business enterprise.”

    Garin noted that Philippine universities and colleges produce sizable numbers of graduates in agriculture-related courses, yet many graduates do not pursue agri-related jobs. “Only a few graduates have ventured into the business of farming or agricultural entrepreneurship due to lack of education and training in this field,” she said.

    The proposed measure calls for training individuals as agriculture entrepreneurs by providing “hands-on” experience in farm businesses or enterprises.

    The bill would create a ladderized system of agricultural education and training in the post-secondary or collegiate level. The Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) would implement and manage the program in partnership with the private sector and non-government organizations (NGOs).

    “The passage of this bill is timely as the world tries to give significance to farming as a way to eradicate hunger and poverty, provide food security and nutrition, and improve livelihoods, manage natural resources effectively, and achieve sustainable development,” Garin added.

    Garin has filed a number of measures as part of the mandate of AAMBIS-Owa party-list to promote and protect the agricultural sector, including a bill in January that would update the 60-year-old Animal Feeds Act.

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