DAR’s Farm Business School empowers farmers in Pangasinan to become ‘agri-preneurs’

Farmers in Pangasinan are transforming into agri-entrepreneurs with the help of the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) Farm Business School (FBS) program.

Jams Bangis, president of the Artacho Farmers Association in Pangasinan, proudly declares, “We now have farmer-entrepreneurs in our group, thanks to the FBS program.”

This sentiment echoes the success story of DAR’s initiative, transforming ordinary farmers into empowered agri-preneurs.

Bangis and his colleagues experienced a significant boost in income after completing the FBS program in 2021.

The training equipped them with valuable knowledge, from land preparation and farming techniques to crucial topics like food safety.

“We prioritize food safety because we want to ensure the well-being of our consumers,” Bangis explains.

He added, “We emphasize the proper application of organic farm inputs and avoid harvesting immediately after spraying.”

Simplicio Julian, another FBS graduate from Umingan, shares similar enthusiasm but also a tinge of concern.

He observes, “While other ASEAN countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam send their farmers here to learn new technologies, we, unfortunately, lag behind in terms of production. They achieve yields of 200 to 250 cavans per hectare, compared to our lower numbers.”

Julian remains optimistic, however, believing that with continued government support, Filipino farmers can bridge the gap.

He expresses his gratitude to DAR for its capacity-building programs and unwavering support for agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

This year, good news arrived for Western Pangasinan as Ben Rios, DAR-Pangasinan provincial focal person, announced the expansion of the FBS program.

“The project site for the 2024 program is in Bani, Pangasinan, at the Colayo Organic Farmers Association,” he shared, highlighting the program’s launch on March 1.

Rios elaborated on the program’s structure, explaining that ARBs will participate in 25 training sessions designed to hone their entrepreneurial skills and mindset.

“Beyond theoretical knowledge, the program emphasizes practical application through activities like benchmarking visits and group marketing initiatives,” he added.

Ultimately, the FBS program aims to empower farmers with the knowledge and tools necessary to manage their agricultural businesses effectively, leading to increased profitability and a more sustainable future.

Maria Ana Francisco, DAR-Region 1 regional director, reaffirms the agency’s commitment to supporting ARBs.

“We go beyond land distribution and training,” she emphasizes.

“Through this project, we strive to ensure your sustainability. That’s the holistic approach DAR takes,” she said.

Since its inception in 2016, the FBS program has successfully transformed 270 individuals into agri-entrepreneurs.

This story serves as a testament to the program’s effectiveness and the immense potential of Filipino farmers when equipped with the right resources and support. (JCR/AMB/EMSA/PIA Pangasinan)

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