Farmers in the fourth district of Pangasinan, especially the young, hail the two bills set to be filed in Congress by Rep. Christopher "Toff" de Venecia as these will greatly benefit them if they become laws of the land.
These two are a bill seeking to provide and institutionalize a Magna Carta for young farmers and another bill seeking an expanded crop insurance program, both of which were endorsed by local farmers and youth who De Venecia earlier consulted.
Noting that the average age of farmers is 57 years old, De Venecia is seeking a Magna Carta for young farmers to encourage the young to go into farming and learn to love the craft if some of them will soon inherit the farms being tilled by their industrious parents.
But at the same time, he urged the youth to continue with their studies and finish a course and once they graduate and turn professional, they can still make the lands left by their parents much more productive, using their knowledge learned from the academe.
The first bill. among others, defines the sector that comprises the young farmers and articulates their needs, concerns, problems and challenges that they are facing in view of soaring prices of commodities, including farm inputs and on account of the changing times.
"We believe that by fighting for the interest of farmers, the youth and other sectors of the society, we can be more effective in the 17th congress," De Venecia said.
For farming to succeed, farmers must be given easy access to credits which is often difficult to get given the many documentary requirements. that the farmers are required to produce, he said..
His bill seeks to shorten the requirements so that farmers can easily get the production loan that they need in their farming ventures.
In the fourth district, De Venecia is helping organize the farmers so that they can form their own credit and service cooperatives and wants them to duplicate the existing one in Barangay Aramal, San Fabian, which he hails as a very successful cooperative now lending credits to its members at only two per cent interest..
"I think when a cooperative. is successful such as the one in Aramal, San Fabian, It becomes a form of service and protection to its members.
He also wants the strengthened farmers' organizations and cooperatives, as service to their individual members, to seek leasehold agreements between farmers and landlords, noting that most of the farmers in the fourth district and in the country are still tenants.
Without a leasehold agreement or contract for the tenant to hold on as a form of security, he can never be sure that he will forever till the land of his landlord as there may be time when the latter will take away the land from him..
"Hindi puwedeng usapang lalake na lang parati between the landlord and his tenants. Their agreement must be reduced into writing," said De Venecia.
At the same time, De Venecia hailed the the K to 12 program of the Department of Education which has an agricultural track that would teach farming to senior students.
Noting that there are now fewer students enrolled in agriculture course in universities and colleges,, De Venecia considers the agricultural track in K to 12 as a blessing and would really encourage the youth to love farming.
Meanwhile, De Venecia admitted that the bill seeking expanded crop insurance was originally filed in the House of Representatives by his mother Gina, which the lower house approved but this was stalled in the Senate.
The younger De Venecia said he is refiling this in the 17th Congress, knowing that the farmers need crop insurance because of the unending onslaught of calamities caused by climate change that often damage their crops, other farm products, including their fish.