AgriDOCs: Trained to Transform

The ceremonial "Sablay" and giving of certificates to the new breed of rice extensionists.

“Enabling a New Breed of Extensionists” - the second batch of graduates were confirmed with their new roles as Agricultural Development Officers of the Community (AgriDOCs) who will serve as the catalysts of farm community transformation.

The AgRiDOC is a component of the Research Project on Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery thru Capability Enhancement of the Next Generation of Rice Extension Professionals and other Intermediaries (IPaD) of the Department of Agriculture Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). The project is funded by DA-National Rice Program through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

According to IPaD Project leader, Dr. Karen Barroga, it is not simply a project but a mission to have more farm communities transformed toward competitiveness, sustainability, and resilience. By training a new breed of extensionist that would contribute to change, transformation will take its ripple effect in the farming communities.

As stated by Dr. Eduardo Quilang, the Acting Deputy Executive Director for Development of PhilRice, “you will be developing, helping and maybe multiplying yourselves as disciples.” He encouraged the AgRiDOCs to make farmers their disciples when they go out to work in the field.

It is Dr. Quilang’s hope to level up the AgRiDOCs and the Agricultural Extension Workers as professionals which could be manifested by the title “AgDr.” through having a professional license just as the doctors, engineers or agriculturists have. This vision can be made possible with the combined efforts of ATI, TESDA and partners.

Moreover, Director Asterio P. Saliot of ATI sincerely appreciated the AgRiDOCs for their commitment in sharing themselves so that others particularly farmers “who are less privileged will be given not only hope but also opportunities to bring the best in them and be able to contribute in nation building.”

Saliot recounted that when the training program was planned and crafted, it was agreed that the extension workers will be taught not only technologies. “This training will equip you with the best character that you could have, the heart and mentality to help and to serve.” Aiming to have a development worker that has the perseverance even in the face of adversities, Saliot looked forward for the AgRiDOCs to begin doing their part in the development efforts.

After spending one season and undergoing six training modules, participants were confirmed of all the rights, privileges, responsibility, and accountability as agents of transformation. A total of 25 fully equipped new breed of extensionists from the Office of Provincial Agriculturists, Local Government Units, State Colleges and Universities, PhilRice and ATI graduated from the training program held on October 23, 2015 in PhilRice, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.