Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The government is ramping up efforts to attract more people, especially overseas Filipino workers, to return to the countryside.
The Department of Agriculture has allotted an initial P2.5 billion in loanable funds for agriculture and fishery ventures, offering zero-interest loans, free training and technical and marketing assistance for OFWs and those who want to go into farming and agribusiness.
“We are opening our doors to OFWs to join the ranks of our new breed of agri-preneurs who will help us revive and reboot the countryside, and at the same time support the Balik Probinsya program,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.
“As we adopt the whole-of-nation approach in creating more livelihood and employment opportunities in the countryside, we will also ensure that more small farmers and fishers, and Balik Probinsya program beneficiaries will benefit from agri ventures spawned by our returning OFWs,” he added.
Through the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council, OFWs can have access to loans, including free technical training from the Agricultural Training Institute. Three loan programs will aim to help micro and small enterprises, marginal small fishers and farmers, and young agripreneurs to venture into agriculture.
Furthermore, ATI will provide OFWs capacity-building and skills training on social preparation and values formation, production technologies, farm business school, and establishment of agri-learning sites.
The new normal, the return of OFWs, and the Balik Probinsya program gives everyone who is interested in being an agripreneur a golden opportunity to get into agribusiness. If used properly, the DA loans and assistance are potential keys that could open the door to new opportunities in the agricultural sector and spur further and sustainable growth and development in the provinces that have long been ignored by most Filipinos as they searched for greener pastures in the concrete jungle.
With the right government support, many Filipinos can be pointed in the right direction and rediscover these greener pastures that may have been overlooked in the past.*