Filipino workers abroad and professionals have been encouraged to invest in agriculture to help other farmers and earn up to P140,000 a month amid the pandemic, a successful former councilor turned farmer said.
“There are so many problems in our country, and we have to be part of the solution. I think the only way to be part of that solution is to go back to basics, go back to farming, go back to agriculture,” said Lea Santiago, founder and now head of Our Farm Republic.
Santiago is on a mission to eradicate ‘gawat’ – the Ilocano word for ‘scarcity,’ one farm at a time through Our Farm Republic.
OFR is an integrated, diversified, organic farm in Mangatarem, Pangasinan, which promotes modern techniques and best practices among rice farmers through the support of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund.
“I’ve always believed that there is money in agriculture. It will remain a sunrise industry,” she said.
Citing a report from the Asian Technology Institute, farmers with at least a hectare of property can submit a letter of intent and attend training to be certified by the agency. Owners of farm sites can earn up to P140,000 per month.
Santiago is at the forefront of a new generation of Filipino farmers who were previously professionals or executives from other industries and are now promoting positive transformations in the country’s largest industry.
OFR is one of over 200 farm schools that conduct RCEF-FFS nationwide. The RCEF-FFS program is supported by the DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute, ATI, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.