MANY Filipinos, including the nation’s professionals, see salvation from grinding poverty appears to be in the countryside, where farmers and fishermen comprise the bulk of the population.
But the problem is more and more rural dwellers, including farmers, continue to abandon their once productive farms to look for “greener pastures” in urban centers and foreign lands.
Discouraged by the declining prices of agricultural products, like palay, our people have lost interest in farming and agriculture and do not even encourage their children to follow their path.
No less than Secretary John Castriciones of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has acknowledged that the agriculture sector “is now the weakest sector of the country.”
In fact, most people now look down on the tillers of the land whose works should be appreciated most especially during hard times like the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Thus, it is only just and proper for the government, through the DAR, to grant incentives to agriculture graduates to help revive the interest in farming among the country’s youngsters.
That’s why we doff our hat to the DAR leadership for deciding to implement a provision of Republic Act (RA) 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law that was approved in 1988.
Under the landmark law, the government gives a maximum of three hectares of land to all agriculture graduates.
Castriciones said that “ngayon pa lamang (ito) ipatutupad sa ilalim ng ating administrasyon,” adding “if agriculture graduates do not have lands to apply their knowledge, then it is useless.”
To qualify for the program, one must be a graduate of a four-year agriculture course and that he/she has the interest to till and make the land productive and do not intend to abandon or sell it.
Without doubt, the DAR is on the right track in coming up with measures, programs and other undertakings that will eventually benefit the country’s economy and ensure food security.