MANILA The government is seeking what it calls "the next generation of farmers", as the phase 2 of the agrarian reform program is in the works, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Friday.
"The average age of our farmers is 57-years-old. The mindset of our citizens nowadays is you do well in your studies, so you could graduate from college and leave farming because farming is hard. We are trying to create a different mindset a paradigm shift because we want to focus on agrarian reform and strengthen our farmer beneficiaries," Castriciones said.
The secretary stressed that President Rodrigo Duterte is determined to finish the agrarian reform program, which, he said, was insufficient in previous administrations.
He added the President had ordered Landbank to lend to farmer beneficiaries to develop their soon-to-be-awarded land.
Aside from the loan, Castriciones said farming organizations would be given tractors, fertilizers, and seeds to produce high-yielding crops from the land.
The government targets to award 500,000 hectares of land in 10 years, which include forest lands, mountains, and government lands, such as those awarded to schools, military camps, and a jail but have remained unused.
The lots would be used to plant high-yielding crops such as rubber trees and coconuts, etc., Castriciones said.
The agrarian official said some of the provinces, where land has yet to be distributed to farmers, were Isabella, Quezon, Bicol, Negros, Samar, Bukidnon, Agusan, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency