AGRI MODERNIZATION. Agricultural Training Institute Deputy Director Rossana Mula says programs are in place to help farmers upgrade their skills in line with its vision to modernize Philippine agriculture. She said this during the Laging Handa briefing aired over state-run PTV4 on Friday (July 24, 2020). (Photo grabbed from Laging Handa briefing)
MANILA – The Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture (ATI-DA) is pushing for programs offering free skills training for farmers in line with its vision to modernize Philippine agriculture.
During the Laging Handa public briefing on Friday aired over state-run PTV4, ATI Deputy Director Rossana Mula said that Filipino farmers need proper skills training to make them more competitive in the market.
She added that the ATI has programs in place specifically for farmers to help them improve their knowledge and skills in modern farming thus increasing their production output.
“Marami sa kanila ang hindi pa rin marunong mag maintain ng mga seeds kaya pinu push namin yung in-bred na seeds. Ganun din ang paggamit ng mga machines. Yan ang kulang sa ating mga farmers, hindi nila masyadong na a-appreciate yun (Many of our farmers lack knowledge on how to maintain quality seed and we are pushing for the in-bred seeds, as well as the use of machinery. But most farmers do not appreciate this),” she noted.
Mula said that ATI is giving free training via the Farmers’ Field School (FFS) through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
She cited the importance of training saying that without proper knowledge on how to use farm mechanization and the use of quality in-bred or hybrid seeds, it will be very difficult for farmers to compete globally in terms of production.
She added that through the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), the ATI is also giving out farm machinery to farmer’s cooperatives or associations through the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
If Filipino farmers will upgrade their skills, we will be able to lower labor costs and increase farm yields, she said.
“Halimbawa kung sa Vietnam, ang labor cost ng seeds ay PHP12, kung mapababa natin ito ng PHP9, yan ay magandang reduction in terms of cost of production of rice. Kung maitaas naman natin ang yield from four tons to five or six tons per hectare, magiging competitive ang ating mga farmers (for example in Vietnam, the labor cost of seeds is PHP12, if we can lower that to PHP9, that is a good reduction in terms of cost of production of rice. If we can increase the yield from four to five or six tons per hectare, our farmers will be more competitive),” she added.
The key to all these, according to Mula, is the correct use of quality seeds and adapting to modern types of machinery like drying and milling, rice machinery, and solar irrigation, which will all contribute to a higher yield of farm crops to farmers.
The ATI is targeting to reach around 160,000 farmers for the current year to benefit from their programs, Mula said. (PNA)