Mimaropa farm learning sites boost cooperation

Published: March 1, 2020 10:15am | Puerto Princesa


Farm schools in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) have banded together to further boost cooperation and exchange of ideas in an effort to strengthen the government’s partner in promoting agriculture, electing a set of officials who will steer the organization in the interim.

The formation of an organization of farm schools and learning in the region was among the highlights of the 2020 Regional Learning Sites in Agriculture and Schools for Practical Agriculture (RLSA-SPA) Summit at Yamang Bukid Farm in Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City last Feb. 24-28.

Br. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm vice president for community affairs, was chosen as president of the 40-plus member alliance.

“Our mission is to help others, especially the youth to learn and love farming. This is a huge responsibility for me,” said Bro. Maria, 23.

“As a young farmer entrusted by LSAs in Mimaropa, it is with all humility for me to work with the inspiration founded by the farming schools ahead of us. It is my joy to cooperate with the leadership of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) under the mandate of the Department of Agriculture in its various programs aimed at attaining food security and uplifting the lives of our farmers,” the former seminarian-turned-farmer added.

Maria said farm schools should not be seen as a diploma mill for young people who want to get a national competency certification even without learning anything.

The association was widely supported by farm owners in the region.

Randy Eusebio, a 57-year old owner of a 21-hectare farm in Oriental Mindanao hoped the group would help empower small farm owners and upstart farm schools.

“I expect to see sharing of ideas, knowledge and technology between the member-farms and unity among us in our resolve to strengthen the agriculture sector,” Eusebio said.

Elected as vice president was Derwin Evangelista of Longfield ALC in Oriental Mindoro.

Rosario Clemente, of Oriental Mindoro’s Lasquety Farms was chosen as secretary.

Other elected officials were Roger Rada of Rada Eco-Farm (Oriental Mindoro) as treasurer and Rafael Constantino Seno of Agrea Farm in Oriental Mindoro as auditor.

The public information officers (PIOs) were Randy Balderas of Mamburao Integrated Farms for Oriental Mindoro, Heidi Guverra of Guevara’s Farm for Marinduque and Porfirio Diaz for Palawan.

For DA-ATI in Mimaropa, farming schools and agri-learning sites are in demand because the government is setting aside over P700 million yearly for scholarships and other assistance to those who want to study agriculture through farm schools and learning sites.

Pat Andrew Barrientos, DA-ATI Mimaropa center director, said the agency is eyeing to accredit at least three farming schools or learning sites per municipality throughout the country. Currently though, there are just about 30 of such institutions nationwide, well below the actual need.

Among the latest to get the ATI nod as learning site is Maria’s Yamang Bukid Farm, a 20-plus hectare farm known for its sunflowers, organically-grown vegetables and herbal plants and an employer to nearly 300 people. 90 percent of whom are former illegal loggers and wildlife poachers in Barangay Bacungan.

A huge incentive to farmer whose farm will become a learning site is a monthly revenue of upwards to P140,000 per batch of at least 25 scholars.

In spite of this windfall, Brother Maria urged his fellow farm school advocates to not lose sight of their bigger role to help the farmers.

“I challenge myself to encourage all farming schools to live as one team with a mission of becoming factories of dignified farmers who can develop into agripreneurs,” he said.

(Juan Lim)

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    An experiment by Weidner and Sigwart which was cited by Mashhadi et. al alleged ginger’s positive effects in reducing blood sugar, thus helping people suffering from diabetes. The experiment’s results was that gingerol significantly lowered blood glucose, serum total cholesterol and the so-called bad cholesterol or LDL.

    Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. has Yamang Bukid Turmeric 10-in-1 Tea which ginger, turmeric and eight other powerful herbs that helps enhance health. Yamang Bukid’s flagship beverage is gaining popularity as a morning hot drink and substitute for coffee due to its delectably spicy taste, health and wellness benefits and affordability. You may also opt for a purely ginger experience with Yamang Bukid’s 100% Pure Powdered GINGER.
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DA training exec advocates setting up of more farm schools

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The head of Department of Agriculture’s training arm in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region has encouraged farmers to help in the government’s thrust to teach more people to become farmers themselves by setting up learning sites and farm schools.

    Pat Andrew Barrientos, center director of the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI) in the region said there is a huge need of farming institutions nationwide even as the government is allocating over P700 million yearly to fund these.

    (Photo by JM Zap)

    “We are targeting around at least three farm schools or learning sites per municipality. (But) nationwide, we only have about 30 farm schools or learning sites, so it’s really inadequate,” Barrientos said during the sidelines of a regional summit of farm schools and learning sites for agriculture in Mimaropa held at Yamang Bukid Farm in Barangay Bacungan here.

    Barrientos said a huge fund that should have benefitted the farmers would be reverted to government coffers if there would be not enough farm schools established.

    (Photo by JM Zap)

    “That’s why we are encouraging our farmers to join us in our program. We will guide them, teach them. Make their children engage in agriculture and realize there is money in agriculture right now,” the ATI regional chief said.

    He said participation of the private sector is vital to the success of the program as the agency lacks manpower.

    (Photo by JM Zap)

    “Our requirements are not that stringent so farmers can easily comply with them. Just submit a letter of intent, attend trainings given by DA-ATI and that you must own at least a hectare of property we can use as demo farm,” said Barrientos.

    Barrientos cited as example the case of Yamang Bukid Farm, a 20-plus hectare farm tourism destination site which now fast becoming a place of learning for farming.

    (Photo by JM Zap)

    “Yamang Bukid is a private entity that trained at ATI. It saw the program about becoming a learning site and applied to become an accredited and certified one,” he said.

    In pointing out the viability of a farm becoming a farm school or learning site, Barrientos said a farmer who operates a farm school or learning site can earn up to P140,000 per batch of up to 25 student-scholars per month.

    “When you become a farm school, what’s good is that you teach people, you help the community and you also make money. It’s a win-win situation,” he added.

    (Photo by JM Zap)

    He assured the would be farm schools to not worry about where and how to get student-scholars because the government has also provided incentives to those who want to learn in these farm schools and learning sites.

    Barrientos said the government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) is giving allowances to student-scholars in ATI-accredited farm schools.

    Upon completion of these courses, graduates are given national competency certifications which they can use when they seek farming jobs locally or abroad, he said.

    “We are instilling a sense of pride to our farmers who earn NC II certificates even if they do not have a college diploma,” the ATI official said.

    (Photo by JM Zap)

    Barrientos called on farmers to take advantage government programs meant to help uplift their lives.

    “All we have to do is to guide them, and the farmers should be guided accordingly. They should have the commitment, willingness, and dedication to learn and see the benefit of the program,” he added.

    (Juan Lim)
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