The Department of Agrarian Reform is ready to give those who would be graduating with a degree in agriculture a maximum of three hectares of land.
Agrairian Reform Sec. John Castriciones, during the ‘Buhay sa Gulay’ urban farming program launch in Quezon City, said this is to help revive the interest in agriculture among young Filipinos.
“Another program of the agrarian reform for those interested agriculture graduates, we are ready to give them at least three hectares of land for each agriculture graduates. This is to make the people love farming again),” Castriciones said.
He said the incentive seeks to encourage the youth who are about to enter college to choose agriculture as their courses and for the parents to suggest to them to take up the said course.
He said the come-on is among the provisions of Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law that was approved in 1988.
The DAR chief said he does not know why this has not been implemented and that this is the first time that the DAR is giving such an incentive.
“This has not been implemented since being approved and that this is the first time under this administration and all interested agriculture graduate may be given a maximum of three has., we have already identified the areas),” he said.
He said they are about to distribute about 150 to 20 hectares of land to some agriculture graduates from the Cagayan State University by the end of January.
He added that there are also about 50 has. of land in Palawan to be awarded to agriculture graduates.
“These are what we call government-owned lands that will be awarded for free to our graduates of agriculture courses,” Castriciones said.
He said he believes that agriculture is the last frontier of survival most especially in times like these that there is a pandemic.
He said the country has agriculture graduates, but if they do not have lands to till and apply their knowledge, then it is useless.
He added that many people, even farmers themselves have lost interest in farming and agriculture and do not even encourage their children to follow their path.
Castriciones said the matter of truth is that many Filipinos have lost interest in agriculture and farming and that incentivizing them would help.
The agriculture sector is the weakest sector of the country now, he said.
He added that most people look down on farmers whose work should be appreciated most especially now during the pandemic.
“The average age of our farmers now is 57 years old, our farmers are getting old and it is high time to revive the interest of the people in farming),” the DAR chief said.
He said agriculture graduates would contribute a lot to improving the technology for modern farming.
He added that the knowledge that they have acquired may be passed on to more farmers that would eventually benefit the country’s economy and ensure food security.
To qualify for the program, Castriciones said one should be a graduate of a four-year agriculture course and that he or she has the interest to till and make the land productive and do not intend to abandon or sell it.