DA-ATI Ensures Transfer Of Farming Knowledge Amidst ECQ


The Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) Cordillera, has given its full support in the promotion of the agriculture department’s (DA) “Ahon Lahat, Pagkain Sapat Kontra sa COVID-19 or ALPAS COVID-19 Program” by ensuring the continuous transfer of farming knowledge amidst limited public movement during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) hindering the conduct of capability training.

The implementation of the program seeks to roll out immediate and essential interventions for food production, availability, accessibility, affordability, and food price stabilization on top of the department’s existing programs to ensure a food-secure Philippines. According to Agriculture Secretary William Dar the pandemic has caused tightening of global food supply and when there is not enough food, disorder is probable. He enthused that while improving food adequacy level, we should aim for food security because the threat of hunger is as real as the threat of the virus.

Hence, to improve efficiencies in production, the DA-ATI CAR in partnership with DA-CAR is mobilizing the undertaking with a holistic approach to promote household farming through Learning Sites for Agriculture (LSAs) and Schools of Practical Agriculture (SPAs) to ensure continuous learning and transfer of enhanced farming knowledge among beneficiaries of the department’s intensified seed distribution under the agency’s ALPAS COVID-19 Program.”

In a consultation, both DA-CAR Executive Director Cameron Odsey and ATI-CAR Center Director Arlene Flores encouraged LSAs and SPAs to help in re-echoing knowledge on farming through small group coaching within their respective communities.

According to Flores, LSAs and SPAs as partners in the field, can be able to provide teaching sessions on household farming and aid in the department’s intensified seed distribution. She underscored that due to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 on the conduct of capability training, community coaching on how to plant can be able to supplement seed distributions to ensure that every household will be well equipped with the right technical know-how and reap good harvests.

“We encourage everybody to help do agricultural coaching and extension. We are going to teach at least ten clients including households and encourage them to plant their own food through the urban agriculture program. This active partnership between us can help DA’s High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) enhance their operations,” she added.

Furthermore, Director Odsey challenged field partners to participate and support DA’s critical role on food production, availability, accessibility, and affordability during this emergency situation.

Odsey stressed that they can help in the shift of coaching earned knowledge into food production to ensure that every intervention will not be wasted. “Teaching is essential and critical during this crisis. Let us help one another, in healing as one through a “whole-of-nation approach,” he added.

Meanwhile, vegetable seeds and farm inputs such as rubber hose, plastic water tank, knapsack sprayer, black net and seedling trays were awarded to ten LSAs including the Benguet State University Organic Farm (BSU-BIGS), ALTOPA Urban Garden, Andy Colte Farm, Garden of life, Fit and fab farm, Miners garden, Strawberry garden under the pines, LGU Tublay integrated farm, ATI CAR urban garden demo farm, and masters garden. Moreover, two SPAs such as Cosmic Organic Farm and Lily of the Valley Organic Farm were also included. Five more LSAs from Kalinga, Ifugao, Apayao, Abra, and Mountain Province are currently being coordinated for partnership. The awarding was also attended by La Trinidad-Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAG) representative Nida Organo.

Currently, LSAs and SPAs have started their community coaching. According to Rogel Marsan, Cosmic Organic Farm cooperator, they are coaching five clients from Beckel, La Trinidad and eight clients from other provinces with the FAITH (Food always Available In The Home) system, What to Plant, kitchen based concoctions or remedies, and simple fertilizer production. “Our coaching strategy during this pandemic is through online topic discussions via messenger and afterwards scheduled actual practicum in order for our clients to learn by doing,” explained Marsan.

Among the responsibilities of LSAs and SPAs other than coaching include making their farm available as demonstration area for hands-on learning, assisting in seed distribution, and continuous enhancement of their farm and farming skills. //Mac James Dacillo- RAFIS staff //

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