CITY OF MALOLOS – “Increasing food production and farm productivity alone cannot move them permanently out of poverty. We must teach small farmers capacity building strategies and approaches to get them to operate their small farms as small businesses and to make them competent and competitive in it. We have to make our small farmers as small businessmen.”
This was the gist of Senator Cynthia A. Villar’s speech at the third day of the “Bulacan Business Conference 2017”, that focused on Agri-Tourism and Farming Enterprise held at The Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city earlier today.
Being the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food and Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, the lady senator believed in the development and promotion of farm tourism in accordance with Republic Act No. 10816 or the “Farm Development Act of 2016.”
“Ang talagang essence ng farm tourism is for the government to recognize that tourism coupled with agriculture extension services can disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country, serve as the catalyst for the development of agriculture and fishery communities and provide additional income for farmers, farm workers and fisherfolks”, Villar said.
She also said that the Filipinos should prioritize environmental protection through sustainable agriculture in accordance with Republic Act No. 10068 or the “Organic Agriculture Act of 2010” and noted that organic farming is healthier for both the farmer and the consumer.
“Maganda ‘yan sa mga mahihirap na farmers and fisherfolks kasi wala naman silang pambili ng chemical fertilizer and pesticide. Sa pamamagitan ng organic farming, mapapataas natin ang kita nila at kasabay nito ay ang kanilang buhay at maiaahon natin sila sa kahirapan,” the senator added.
On the other hand, Mr. Henry Lim Bon Liong, Chairman, President and CEO of SL Agritech Corporation, encouraged the farmers to be entrepreneurs by using hybrid rice which will definitely elevate their income and to value the importance of farming.
“One seed can calm a tribe and stabilize a nation, one seed can change one’s life, one seed can determine one’s destiny, one seed can lead to prosperity,” he said.
For his part, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that without agriculture, there are no banks, schools, churches, hospitals and other establishments.
“Ang lupa, bagaman mayaman ay hindi nagluluwal ng masaganang bunga, kung hindi sa pagbubungkal ng lupa; na katulad ng tao, ang mga hayop ay kailangan rin bigyan ng sapat na pagtangkilik at pag-aaruga; na ang karagatan at kailugan, bagaman pinagpala sa yamang dagat, ay nangangailangan ng ibayong pagtitiyaga upang magkaroon ng masaganang huli,” the governor said.
Bulacan Business Conference is a five-day event anchored on the theme “Napapanahong Pagbabago Tungo sa Patuloy na Pag-asenso” organized by the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Bulacan.