A farm school will be established soon in Region IV-B to help local farmers and fishers to be more competitive, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) said.
TESDA Director Guiling Mamondiong said that they have teamed up with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to establish an Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) farm school in the provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan or MIMAROPA.
Mamondiong said aside from helping the local farmers and fishers, the program is also aimed at increasing the public’s awareness on fishing and farming so that more students will be enticed to enroll in agri-fishery courses.
“The concept of the farm schools is based on the Farm Field Schools (FFS) developed by the UN Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help farmers become competitive and seize advantage of the opportunities in the market by operating their farms efficiently and profitably,” Mamondiong said.
With this, Mamondiong has ordered all regional and provincial directors to promote the farm school in their respective areas so that the number of enrollees engaged in green education would also increase.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, led the recent groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies of the ATI dormitory, research laboratory and ATI Center for Agriculture and Fishery Extension (CAFÉ) Hall in Barangay Barcenaga, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.
Villar said that food security is one of the major issues in the country which needs to be addressed, and working with TESDA and other government agencies in promoting training institutions for farmers and fishers is one way to solve it.
“Our farmers are not workers, they are entrepreneurs. Through farm schools, we train our farmers not only how to produce more using different techniques but also how to manage their farms’ affairs more effectively. They will need to learn how to grow more rice at a lower cost,” Villar said.
TESDA also presented the first batch of agriculture graduates from Gelacio I. Yason Foundation and recognized outstanding farm schools in the region.
Furthermore, the agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among several state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region to provide agri-fishery courses and assessment centers to them.
They also conducted a Request for Tender (RFT) signing for those who want to avail of scholarship programs in the 14 farm schools in the region.