Senate identifies 21 schools tapped to train Filipino farmers for free
MANILA, Philippines – At the hearing of the Committee on Agriculture and Food on Tuesday, September 3, Senator Cynthia Villar announced 21 schools across the country will provide farmer-trainors with free training courses in a number of areas, namely rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, inbred seed production, farm mechanization, and farm machinery servicing and maintenance.
P1 billion has been allocated for the skills training of farmers, as part of the P10 billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) that falls under the rice tariffication law.
The allocated funding for the skills training is divided among training providers, with P100 million each going to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), the Agriculture Training Institute, and PhilRice. P700 million will go the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
PhilMech and PhilRice will give the ATI and TESDA training modules and provide trainor classes, while the ATI and TESDA will promote the training modules among farmers through Farmers Field Schools and TESDA-accredited Farm Schools for rice-producing locales.
Courses included in the setup will allow farmers to operate and maintain farm equipment, such as tillers, tractors, seeders, threshers, rice planters, harvesters, and irrigation pumps. These machines are used for land preparation, crop establishment, harvesting and threshing, drying, and milling.
The following schools will be part of the program:
- Region I: Don Mariano Marcos State University in Batac;
- Region II: PhilRice, San Mateo, Isabela;
- Region III: PhilMech and PhilRice in the Science City of Muñoz; and Villar Sipag Farm School, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan;
- Region IV-A: University of the Philippines- Los Banos, Laguna; and Villar Sipag Farm School, Bacoor, Cavite;
- Region IV-B: PhilRice, Santa Cruz, Mindoro Oriental.
- Region V: PhilMech, Pili, Camarines Sur; and PhilRice, Ligao, Albay;
- Visayas: Villar SIPAG Farm School, San Miguel, Iloilo; and PhilRice, Murcia, Negros Occidental
- Eastern Visayas: PhilMech, Abuyog, Leyte; and University of Eastern Philippines, Catarman, Northern Samar;
- Mindanao: Western Mindanao State University for Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay and the rest of the Zamboanga Peninsula;
- Region X: Central Mindanao University, Bukidnon; and PhilMech, Cagayan de Oro City.
- Region XI: PhilMech, Davao City; and Villar Sipag Farm School, Davao City;
- SOCCSKSARGEN: Region 12 Philmech, Midsayap, North Cotabato;
- Region XIII: PhilRice, RT Romualdez, Agusan del Norte.
More schools, namely ATI schools, will be added to the roster of available teaching locations eventually.
The senator also clarified the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Allevation and Governance (Villar SIPAG) foundation farm schools listed will not be paid using public funds for use of its facilities and is also not seeking accreditation by TESDA,
“We are offering the free use of our facilities to help reach more farmers as soon as possible,” Villar said.
At a rate two sessions of two-week training programs in a month, the 21 schools are expected to teach farmers in 54 provinces within a two to three-month timeframe. – Rappler.com