Senator Cynthia Villar spoke before the Bohol Island State University (BISU) student body urging them to take up agri-related courses to stave off a potential food security situation in the near future.
Villar was the honored guest on the 7th anniversary of the first state university in the province on October 14, 2016 at the Bilar campus.
As the then chair of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education of the 13th and 14th Congress, Villar passed House Bill 5638 together with Congressmen Edgar Chatto, Roberto Cajes and Adam Relson Jala creating BISU.
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed into law Republic Act 9722 on October 14, 2009 creating BISU.
Villar told the students the 40% of the farmers and fisherfolks live below the poverty threshold of P5,300 a month and laid the blame on the lack of education, knowledge of agricultural technology and mechanization and financial literacy.
At the rate children of farmers are leaving their farms for the bigger income in the cities, Villar warned the students that a food crisis will engulf the country since these small family farms are feeding the population not the corporate farms.
Villar believes that education and agriculture should bond together even as a slew of scholarships has been lined up to encourage students to pursue a course in agriculture together with extension courses for farmers to boost their income and encourage them to focus on food production.
P500 million has been budgeted for agricultural scholarship under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) while a maximum of P1 million loan for farmers will be made available through the Land Bank of the Philippines, according to Villar.
Villar stressed that education should go to the farmers and farmers learn the mechanics of modern farming and financial literacy to improve their income and contribute to the thrust of government towards food security. (Chito M. Visarra)