Returning OFWs urged to pursue agribusiness
MANILA, Philippines—Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Tuesday urged overseas Filipino workers, who left behind their agricultural lands when they decided to pursue “greener pastures” abroad, to come back home after finishing their contracts and pursue agriculture and related enterprises as an alternative source of income.
“Returning OFWs, OFWs who had been displaced, or OFWs who had become victims of abuse should not be afraid to come home to the Philippines, particularly if they have idle farmlands. Their lands are a source of income security,” said Baldoz in a statement.
“You should not be worried. You can develop your farms through organic farming, or start your own agribusiness and expand it with the assistance of the National Reintegration Center for OFWs through loan from the P2-billion national reintegration loan fund,” Baldoz said.
Baldoz issued the challenge after Philippine Labor Attaché to Hong Kong Manuel Roldan reported about the recent visit of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.
According to Roldan, Alcala met with the Filipino community in Hong Kong and attended a seminar on organic farming and chicken-and-rabbit-raising conducted by one Dr. Rey Itchon of the Spread Organic in the Philippines for Hong Kong OFWs.
The seminar, attended by 100 OFWs, is part of the regular agricultural livelihood training conducted every Sunday at the Filipino Workers Resource Center.
In his report, Roldan said Alcala committed to support efforts in building the capacities of Hong Kong OFWs to engage in agricultural enterprises after they have shown interest and enthusiasm in tilling and developing their lands using the knowledge and skills they acquired from the seminar.
“Secretary Alcala is also looking at the possibility of introducing the same seminar in other OFW destinations,” Roldan said.
Baldoz expressed interest in this development, saying that OFWs who come home to the Philippines with skills and knowledge acquired from the seminar and who wish to engage in agriculture and related ventures can avail a financial grant from the NRCO.
“Those who want to come back and cultivate that land they left behind will never have to lose sleep on how they can support the needs of their families again. Aside from the financial assistance, they will also receive business counseling, technical and marketing assistance, and skills training to ensure the success of their business. We will even provide them with other support, such as productivity improvement, after they have started their business,” Baldoz said.
“We all know how hard it is to work far from your loved ones and we are very much aware of the social costs of migration. The government, through the National Reintegration Center for OFWs, does not stop in thinking of ways on how we can provide decent jobs and livelihood for every Filipino so that working abroad will just be an option,” Baldoz added.
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