Sen. Cynthia Villar urged farmers to take advantage of the Farm Tourism Law by joining the bandwagon and at the same time turn their places into farm schools as part of her advocacy to help farmers, fishermen and children.
Villar established the trend by saying that 380 farmers applied to become farm schools in 2015, 900 in 2016, and the number rose to 1320 in 2017. She adds that this year there are 1,855 farms applying to become farm schools under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Once a farm becomes an accredited agricultural-vocational school under TESDA, using accredited teachers and modules, the agency will pay the tuition of a maximum of 25 students per class enrolled in farm schools.
“If you maintain 25 students for a month, every month you get paid P100,000 and you will be paid P1.2 million a year for only a one-hectare farm for this purpose,” she added.
Aside from the economic benefits to farmers, farm schools can also shore up the country’s need for more farmers that are properly trained and educated in their industry as the best way to learn farming concepts is by being in actual farms run by real farmers who have experienced the trials and tribulations of their craft.
If the government wants to take the farm school concept further, education officials can also consider working with exceptional farm schools and introduce programs for younger students in junior high school or even grade school to encourage and instill a renewed interest in farming and agriculture among the Filipino youth and reconnect them with the land.
The growing interest in farm schools is a positive development that farmers and the government can take advantage of. With the proper support and funding, it can even trigger a mini revolutionize that could benefit the agriculture and education sectors.