DA training institute vows more services
By Keren Anne V. Bernadas
Not even a pandemic can stop the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) from doing its job in providing farmers research, development and extension services, Dr. Franklin Bel T. Isip, ATI career development and management chief said.
Amid the restrictions in face-to-face trainings brought about by Covid-19, ATI Bicol did not treat the pandemic as a challenge, Isip told the Ugnayan sa Bicol radio and online program.
Rather, the men and women in ATI Bicol took the public health emergency as a motivation for them to be more creative and innovative.
In their desire to continue their services throughout lockdown last year, the ATI personnel launched “ATI Sarabay Channel” on social media, which they utilized to bring various training programs via video clips and canned trainings.
They also planned to explore the possibility of having their informative videos to be shown in any local TV channel for wider and bigger reach, especially to farmers and fisherfolk.
By exploring social media, Isip said their training programs even reached audiences from outside the country.
“Our trainings are widely attended by people from different regions and tapped by people from other countries. This motivates us to develop better training contents online,” he said.
Programs and Developments
For the current year, ATI Bicol has 14 college scholars who are currently taking Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering programs, Isip said.
ATI Bicol has 300 agricultural need-based training programs simultaneously being conducted throughout the region in line with various fields in agriculture, agri-business, agri-engineering, agri-entrepreneurship, among others.
Isip said that before they developed their work plan and identified training programs for the year, they conducted training needs assessment and participatory rural appraisal in the community level so that these programs would be beneficial and applicable to the farmers and fisherfolk in the future.
As of the press time, ATI exhibited more than 50 model farms or learning sites for agriculture, 10 school for practical agriculture and one extension service provider or farm tourism.
The agency, with the help of DA, has also provided about 5,000 different vegetable seeds and seedlings, as well as information education communication materials to farmers in communities.
ATI Bicol is also keen on utilizing agri-technologies and other programs based on university researches to help Bicolano farmers.
Urban Agriculture: Plant, Plant, Plant
Isip encouraged the public to plant edible plants to attain food security so plants could be of help in times of limited food supply.
He added: “With regard to urban agriculture, gusto natin yung mga maliliit na communities especially mga cities dito sa Bicol region ay mabigyan ng chance na maibalik ang agrikulura. Hindi porket nagiging city ka na, nakalimutan mo na ang agriculture (With regard to urban agriculture, we desire that those small communities particularly those located in cities or urban areas will still prioritize agriculture. It doesn’t mean for an urban area to take agriculture for granted.)
ATI Bicol has piloted a program where all members of Sangguniang Kabataan are encouraged to have their own urban garden. (PIA5)