Acquiring Knowledge from the Grassroots for the Farmers' Contact Center

Now on to the regions!

After the successful undertaking of the National Workshop to develop knowledgebase in support of the Farmers' Contact Center held in Dumaguete, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) takes the consultation workshops to the regional level. Dubbed as “Towards the Establishment of Farmer’s Contact Center (FCC): A Regional Consultation workshop For the Development of Knowledgebase for Agriculture and Fishery,” the series of workshops are being held throughout the country specifically in the 17 regions of the Philippines.

The regional consultation workshops aim to (1) discuss the essence and features of FCC, (2) validate the system that must be in place to make FCC operational, (3) generate the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) with corresponding answers relevant to agriculture and fisheries production and (4) enlist the commitment and participation of the subject matter specialist (SMS) to be part of FCC. Participants were Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs) of the various commodities from DA-Regional Field Units, local government units (LGUs), state universities and colleges (SUCs) and the private sector.

Mandated by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through its Department Order No. 3 series of 2007, the ATI takes the lead in the provision of e-Extension services of the DA. Because of this, the ATI launched the e-Learning component of the Program last December 2007. For its subsequent endeavor, the ATI plans to launch the Farmer’s Contact Center (FCC) to form part of the e-Farming Component of the e-Extension Program. FCC will serve as an alternative delivery channel and will supplement the current extension and agricultural support efforts. The intent is to provide accurate replies to the clientele’s queries through call (voice), short messaging service (text), discussion forum of the e-Learning site as well as the contact us email, and refer them to experts for a detailed advise.

Before launching the FCC, ATI needs to establish a knowledgebase for Agriculture and Fisheries to serve as the support system of FCC. Generating all the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of the various agricultural commodities from the experts in the regions, it will be consolidated and will serve as the foundation of the support system of the FCC. 

Assistant Director Alberto B. Maningding, ATI’s Deputy Director for AFE Operations urged the experts and Subject Matter Specialists to help ATI in this project during one of his messages in the regional consultations. “We ask the help of all the experts of DA-RFU, SUCs, LGUs and the private sector in establishing the knowledgebase for the FCC,” he said. He also added that the FCC is a pioneer project in the Philippines and needs a lot of work to be successful.

“This is the first attempt of such project in the Philippines and it is a challenge because of the enormity of work to be done before we can launch the Farmer’s Contact Center,” Maningding added.

The regional consultation workshops consisted of briefings on the Overview of the e-Extension Program, Overview of the Farmers' Contact Center which includes the discussion of the conceptual framework of the FCC and the proposed system of referral, consultation workshops on system of referral and the emerging issues and recommendations during the implementation and generation of FAQs and lastly commitment setting.

Expected outputs from the regional consultation and workshops are the directory  of experts per commodity per specialization,  list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and corresponding answers, validated referral system,and the  issues and recommendations which will serve as guide in the drafting of institutional arrangement mechanisms and guidelines for implementation.

The consultations are being held for the whole month of September until the first week of October. (Benedict C. Natividad)
View related content:
Scenes from the Regional Consultative Workshops on the Development of a Knowledgebase for Agri-Fisheries: Luzon
Scenes from the Regional Consultative Workshops on the Development of a Knowledgebase for Agri-Fisheries: Visayas
Scenes from the Regional Consultative Workshops on the Development of a Knowledgebase for Agri-Fisheries: Mindanao