SENATOR Cynthia Villar said that Negros Occidental’s micro enterprise is worth emulating by other provinces.
“I am a fun of Negros because it's always the best. When you go to expositions, Negros is always the best and your small micro are good and of a good international standard. In fact, some other provinces should emulate you,” Villar said.
Villar was in Bacolod City on April 21 for the Pasidungog sa Panguma, Pangisda kag Pangkasapatan Awards at Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.
Villar, chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, pointed out that the downfall of the sugar industry before has helped Negros to diversify.
“Sugar has been down before and through it, you have discovered alternatives from other products aside from sugar. In a way, the downfall of the sugar industry has helped Negros because you were able to diversify,” Villar said.
Villar, during the event, encouraged the farmers to learn new farm techniques through farm schools that have been established nationwide so they can learn new methods of farming and improve their harvest and produce.
“They earned on the average P50,000 per hectare. But the national average of earnings of farmers based on a statistic is P4,500 per hectare. That means, if you are an efficient farmer, you have the ability to earn P50,000. So others will have to learn,” Villar said.
“So the lesson is you have to study, that’s why we’re building farms school in every town in the country and at present, we have 1,125 farm schools that want to be accredited with Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). Right now, about 300 are already accredited. They can learn from Gawad Saka Awardees so they can produce crops in a more profitable manner. We have to be competitive and the answer is mechanization and good seeds,” Villar added.
On the rice situation in the country, Villar said: “The Senate is supposed to pass a tariffication because, under the agreement with the World Trade Organization, we cannot have restrictions on the importation of rice. Importation of rice will be liberalized.”
“We will pass a tariff law. We will impose the tariff on imported rice but the problem is that the Vietnam cost, even if impose a tariff, we're only allowed 35 percent tariff, their price is still lower at only P6 per kilo for palay and our local farmers' price is at P12 per kilo. If we tariff their rice, our farmers still cannot compete,” Villar said.
She added: “So I'll pass it later to give time to the rice farmers and that tariffication will amend the NFA charter because under it there's no more use for NFA because the importation would no longer have restrictions. But I don't intend to do it this year. We have to improve our rice production.”
Meanwhile, on the recent survey result showing her as among the top senatorial bets or the 2019 elections, Villar said that survey has been going on. They just don't publish it.
“I've seen it a year ago and it's still the same. I know I'm in number two. I'm not that confident, but my advocacy s for the farmers and not for the votes,” she said.
“Like my advocacy on the environment, it has no vote because people don't understand it even with my efforts. I have looked at the study and it tells that it's not about that. Not even about the OFW. It's about livelihood and they like housing, they don't really understand the environment. It's okay, we just do what is good,” she said.
On the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, Villar said there is no doubt it will push through as there was no plan to postpone it.