The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has identified 230,000 hectares of government-owned lands (GOL) that will be awarded to qualified graduates who took up a four-year degree in agriculture or any related field.
Secretary John Castriciones said a person may be awarded agricultural lands acquired by the DAR from unused GOLs and become an agrarian reform beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Administrative Order (AO) No. 3, series of 2020, supplied all the requirements to be qualified as an agri-graduate to be provided with agricultural land, he said.
First, the person must be a graduate of a four-year bachelor’s degree in agriculture, agriculture engineering, forestry, forest engineering, or related fields as certified by the registrar of the educational institution where the person graduated; second, the person must be landless; third, the person must be resident of the municipality where the landholding is located; fourth, the person has the willingness, aptitude, and ability to cultivate and make the land productive; and fifth, the person should have no pending application before the DAR as an agrarian reform beneficiary and no pending application or has not been a beneficiary under DAR AO No. 03, Series of 1997.
“Nakipag-ugnayan na ako sa Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Kami ay magdaraos ng isang meeting kung saan ang lahat ng presidente ng state, universities, at colleges ay makikipagtulungan upang maipatupad ang batas na ito para mapalawak ang agrikultura dito sa ating bansa. (I have already contacted the CHED. We will hold a meeting where all presidents of states, universities, and colleges will work together to implement this law to expand the agriculture sector here in our country),” Castriciones said.
He pointed out that the country is not lacking in providing educational training to the youth in the fields of agriculture, agricultural engineering, forestry, forest engineering, and related fields.
Citing the CHED’s report, the DAR official said there were a total of 26,861 graduates of academic degrees in agriculture from state universities and colleges, other government schools, and local universities and colleges during the academic year 2017-2018.
Despite this, the number of graduates in agriculture and related fields are reportedly decreasing.
“To encourage our youth, to cure the defect, kailangan bigyan ng lupa ang ating mga agriculture graduates upang mapanumbalik ang kanilang kasiglahan sa kanilang pagtatanim at magkaroon sila ng farm laboratory upang magamit nila ang kanilang pinag aralan, lalo na ang makabagong teknolohya para po mapa-unlad ang mga sakahan sa kanayunan (our agriculture graduates need to be given land to restore their vitality in farming and to have a farm laboratory so that they can use their education, especially modern technology to develop rural farms),” he said.
Castriciones said applications under this program should be submitted to the municipal agrarian reform program officer or to the Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer II.
Applicants are required to submit their application form, proof of identification; letter of intent by the applicant expressing the interest to be an awardee of agricultural land, and notarized certificate of the registrar of the educational institution stating that the applicant is a bona fide graduate of a four-year bachelor’s degree in agriculture, agriculture engineering, forestry, forest engineering, or related fields.