Bill to aid, motivate young farmers pushed in Senate

Bill to aid, motivate young farmers pushed in Senate

MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to create a Magna Carta of young farmers as young as 15 years old has been filed in the Senate.

Senate Bill No. 1422 filed by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. ensures equal access to quality education and training of young farmers and encourages partnership and linkage with state universities and colleges (SUCs) on information and technology transfer to young farmers and organizations.

The measure also exempts young farmers from paying donor’s tax provided that the lot they would inherit from their parents would be maintained for at least five years for them to continue the legacy of farming.

According to Revilla, the bill would “encourage the young generation into farming and achieve food production and sustainability.”

“We have to encourage our millennials to go into farming,” Revilla said in a statement Monday.

The bill defines a “young farmer” as an individual whose primary source of income comes from agriculture, with an age range of 15-35 years old, is owner, tenant, lessee or worker of the land in which they personally cultivate and till.

The bill also puts in place measures to enable young farmers and fishers to gain access to market, prices, services provided by the government, and new technologies such as online businesses, telecommuting and online procurement.

Further, it seeks to institutionalize young farmers’ representation in various decision-making and agricultural policy-making bodies initiated by the government and private sector.

Revilla underscored the need to “fully utilize and maximize the capacity and potential of the youth in promoting and improving the country’s agriculture industry.”

He said the government should encourage the youth to engage in agriculture by establishing mechanisms for the promotion and protection of their rights, given the fact that the average age of Filipino farmers is 57 years old.

With the average lifespan of 70 years old, the senator said the Philippines may reach a “critical shortage of farmers” in just 15 years.

He said farmers “are getting too old for what is back-breaking work [and] children are not keen on taking over their family farm for lack of interest or incentive or both.”

“Through appropriate education and training, coupled with sufficient support for technology, credit and capital, the new generation of creative and innovative millennials will become active agents of achieving our goals for food production and sustainability,” Revilla said.