"Family farms are truly key players for inclusive growth and rural development, as well as to our food-secure future," Villar said.
Held in partnership with MoCA Family Farm and RLearning Center, a leading member of the Pamilyang Filipino Farmers, the conference was hosted and co-organized by Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture.
The conference aims to promote the creation of systems of farming capable of maintaining their productivity and usefulness to the community with a theme which centered on how to mobilize small and family farmers as well as new farmers for food security, sustainable tourism, and rural development.
Villar said the national forum puts importance and priority to small and family farmers, whose contributions to society should not be belittled.
She noted that the agriculture sector supports two-thirds of the country's economy.
"With the surging population, there is strong pressure in the agriculture sector to produce more food [and] therefore, small and family farms have important roles to play in ensuring the country's food security," Villar said encouraging the participants not to leave their farms because the future generations depend on them for food.
Villar mentioned several major legislations that have been passed in the Senate to help farmers which included the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act which creates the coconut levy trust fund that would provide interventions for the coconut industry's development.
Another legislation she outlined is the Free Irrigation Service to Small Farmers Act which gives free irrigation to farmers who own land not larger than eight hectares and condones unpaid irrigation fees and writing off of loans of farmers who own the same size of land.