Coops told to create farm schools for better crop productivity

LAOAG CITY, April 19 (PIA) – Senator Cynthia Villar has called on all established cooperatives to create farm schools as a mode of helping the farmers to increase their agricultural productivity.

Villar, the chair of the senate committee on Agriculture and Food, made her appeal during her recent visit in the Ilocos where she graced the 44th anniversary celebration of the Sacred Hearth Savings Cooperative held at the Galimuyod Gymnasium in Ilocos Sur.

The Sacred Heart Cooperative, one of the country’s top 20 biggest and successful cooperatives due to its P1.3 billion worth of assets, was one of the recipients of the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) award in 2015 with a cash prize amounting to P250, 000.

The cooperative has branches in Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija.

“The cooperatives have a direct contact to the farmers and fishermen, thus, they need to establish a farm school to help the farmers learn the proper agricultural technology and financial management to increase their productivity and income,” she said.

She cited that the country’s agriculture and fishery productions are not competitive due to insufficient knowledge by the farmer and fishermen on proper agricultural technology, farm mechanization and financial literacy.

She advised the cooperative management to coordinate with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the registration of their agriculture training programs for the availment of scholarship grants.

Aside from the cooperatives, she also encouraged the local government units (LGUs) to establish a farm school for the youngters to learn the proper farming technology.

In response to Villar’s call, Jaime Gaboy, the chief executive officer of the Sacred Heart Coop, presented an initial 20 farmers who are recipients of their Cooperative Institute Program on Agro-Enterprize (CIPAG).

Earlier, Villar had initiated the establishment of the Villar SIPAG urban farm school in Bacoor, Cavite-Las Pinas boundary.

“The establishment of a farm school in our area that will help our residents is a realization of one of my objectives as a public servant and as a social entrepreneur from Las Pinas,” Villar said.

Initially, the school has a classroom that can accommodate 50 persons and adequate office tools.

It features organic farming and showcases the use of alternative source of energy such as solar lamp post and windmill power for deep-well water source. It also has water impounding equipment and a hand tractor. (Freddie G. Lazaro/PIA- 1 Ilocos Norte)