Baybay City, Leyte - Rice sufficiency remains a continuing challenge for the Philippine government. The country’s population is growing by 2.3% per annum which raises the need to increase rice yield per unit area per unit time. By 2020, rice production volume is targeted to be 40 to 50% higher than the current level to satisfy the needs of the Philippine population and lessen rice importation.
As the front liner for extension services in the country, one of the solutions the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has come up with is the harmonization in the delivery of extension services and capability building activities for agricultural extension workers (AEWs), farmer leaders and stakeholders. Thus, for Region 8, ATI-RTC 8 conducted an activity on Retooling Rice Focal Persons and Valuing Lessons on Rice Training Program Implementation to aid in carrying forward the implementation of the rice program in the region. The activity was a venue in identifying primary issues, challenges and possible solutions as basis in the formulation of appropriate extension approaches and interventions.
The participants reviewed the 2018 accomplishments and were presented with 2019 activities for the Rice program. The report showed that the partnerships between ATI-RTC 8, DA-RFO 8, and Provincial Agriculture offices are very important to manage the limited resources and effectively and efficiently utilize them through proper planning in the implementation of region 8 rice extension programs. Participants also were inspired about the best practices being shared during the activity. One of which was a success story from the 2016 and 2017 Rice Achievers Awardees, LGU Hinundayan and LGU Alangalang. Participants from the different provinces also shared successful rice technologies and strategies that may be applicable to other members of the group.
“Being assigned as a new rice focal person and coordinator is a big responsibility and challenge. That is why it was very timely that I was given this opportunity to attend this training where I learned a lot.” said Mr. Narciso Ador, Jr. from Catubig, Northern Samar. He said that the nervousness he felt at first became excitement. He looks forward to sharing everything he learned and for that chance to be invited again to gain additional learnings and knowledge for him to become an effective Rice Specialist.
The training was also an avenue for Rice Focals to be refreshed about their skills on presentation and facilitation so that they can continue to spice up their planned programs and activities for this year.
Ms. Mary Ann Magno, an Agricultural Technician from Quinapondan, Eastern Samar, during her impression said, “Sometimes being young, our credibility, capabilities, and knowledge are questioned. But through this training we have gained essential knowledge that we could use.” She added that this training also helped her learn from the best practices from other municipalities which they could adapt in their own municipality. Lastly, she quoted, “Don’t worry about failure, worry about the change you missed when you don’t even try.”
Thirty (30) participants from the six well-represented provinces of Region 8 attended the Retooling of Rice Focals and Valuing Lessons on Rice Training Program Implementation on April 1-5, 2019 at ATI-RTC 8, VSU Campus, Baybay City, Leyte.