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In Central Luzon, NRCO brings returning OFWs closer to Agri-business
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Some 30 returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) residing in different parts of Central Luzon were recently immersed in a “Byaheng Agripreneur” on-site farm training in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Byaheng Agripreneur is a convergence program of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) and Department of Agriculture (DA) - Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).
The program, according to DOLE Regional Director Atty. Ana Dione provides among others, training, resource persons, and knowledge products to heighten awareness of OFWs and their families on agricultural business.
“There is future in agri-business for our returning OFWs because government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and other concerned agencies have partnered with the DOLE, through the NRCO’s Byaheng Agripreneur, in opening windows of opportunities for OFWs and their families to invest their hard-earned money in agricultural business with the goal of achieving a sustainable source of income in this industry,” Dione explained.
The returning OFW-participants were gathered and encouraged for a hands-on participation on their training at the Diaspora Farm and Resort, Sta. Barbara in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Participants were exposed to first-hand information in handling agriculture business through different activities offered in the farm such as production of organic fertilizers and various concoctions.
Diaspora Farm and Resort owner Annette Cortez-Patdu, who facilitated the farm tour training, shared her inspiring story to the OFW would-be entrepreneurs in building their own agri-businesses.
“Despite being ravaged by lahar due to the onslaught of Mt. Pinatubo, we never lost hope in our aspiration to someday develop our farm land into a productive place. In 2003, we started planting mangoes in our desire to build a leisure farm for our family,” Cortez-Patdu said.
Cortez-Patdu shared that the family’s goal was not only for them to benefit but more importantly to benefit the whole community as well.
“We developed our farm into a farm tourism site where we could teach people visiting here the basics of farming. We exposed them to different activities that usually take place here in the farm such as planting trees, producing fertilizers and taking care of livestock,” Cortez-Patdu said.
The “Byaheng Agripreneur” on-site farm training was an insightful learning experience which opened ideas for agri-business opportunities says Mercedita Fernandez, on behalf of the participants.
“Napakagandang karanasan po na mapabilang sa training na ito dahil napalawig ang aming mga kaalaman sa ang mga sari-saring oportunidad sa agri-business na makakatulong sa mga OFWs at ng kanilang mga pamilya na nais magsimula muli dito sa Pilipinas,” Fernandez said, adding:
“Mula sa aming samahan, lubos po kaming nagpapasalamat sa DOLE-NRCO, sa pamamagitan ng kanilang Regional Coordinator na si Freya Palad, para mapasali kami sa gawaing ito. Naging inspirasyon din ang karanasan namin dito para lalo pa kaming magsumikap para sa pangarap na magkaroon din ng maliit na farm tulad nito.”
Remigio Tanglao, another OFW-returnee participant, was delighted in his personal experience and hopes to develop his barren land to become a productive farm as well.
“Sana ay marami pa pong programang ganito ang maging handog ninyo sa amin. Isa po ito sa kapakipakinabang na seminar na aming dinaluhan dahil marami po kaming natutunan lalo na po sa akin dahil nagkaroon ako ng ideya para mapaganda ang aking lote sa Bamban, Tarlac,” Tanglao said.
Like Bacolor town, the NRCO is looking forward to hold more Byaheng Agripreneur activities in other parts of Central Luzon.


END/Jerry Borja with reporting from Freya Palad
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