The Philippines is an agrarian economy with agriculture being the main occupation of its people. Most of its citizens live in the rural areas and follow various livelihood options in the agricultural sector. The total land area in the country is 30 million hectares, out of which 47% is under agriculture. Prime agricultural lands are located around the main urban and high population density areas.
The agricultural sector in Philippines is divided into four sub-sectors comprising of farming, fisheries, livestock and forestry. Rice and corn account for nearly 50% of the agricultural produce in the country. This has led to the increased awareness about agricultural studies.
Besides rice and corn, the other important crop yields in the country are coconut, bananas, pineapple, coffee, mangoes and abaca (a banana type plant). Apart from these, the secondary agriculture produce include peanut, cassava, garlic, onion, egg-plant, cabbage, rubber, cotton and calamansi (type of lemon).
The agricultural land in the country is a mixture of small, medium and large farms. An average farm size is about 2 hectares which are usually owned and managed by single family units and range from the subsistence to the commercial production. The typical farming system constitutes of crop yields like rice, corn and coconut as common base and also includes a few heads of livestock and poultry.
Due to all these prevailing conditions, a need was felt to impart knowledge about the various agricultural practices and the latest trends being followed around the globe. This gave birth to the Agriculture Colleges in Philippines, some of which are owned by the state.
The following colleges in the country are considered to be the best in terms of infrastructure, the faculty and the quality of education.
Pampanga Agriculture College: Primarily established as an agricultural school, Pampanga Agriculture College became a state college in September 1974. Originally started in 1885, this century old institution is located on the foothills of the Majestic Mt. Arayat in the town of Magalang, province of Pampanga. It is spread out on an area of 700 hectares of government agricultural lands. The main focus of the college is on Instruction, Research & Development, Extension Training and Production.
Presently the college offers 13 under-graduate courses, 2-year computer course, 2-year course in agricultural technology, agricultural science high school, and graduate schools for three masters and three doctoral degrees.
Xavier University – College of Agriculture: This prestigious institution was founded in 1953 by the late Fr. William F. Masterson and is the second oldest amongst the colleges of agriculture in Mindanao and also has the proud position of being the only Catholic College of Agriculture in the entire country. It is also the founding member of the Association of Colleges of Agriculture of the Philippines (ACAP).
The curriculum of Xavier University – College of Agriculture is a distinctive combination of active field work and the liberal arts formation. The main thrust of the college is on Instruction, Research, Extension and Production.
Apart from the above two educational institutions, there are also many other state sponsored Universities which provide education on the different facets of agriculture. Most of the colleges are affiliated with some overseas faculty and organizations which provide valuable inputs on a regular basis.