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Saliot: "Farmers are Heroes of Today"
“If the OFWs are called the heroes of our time, we farmers are the heroes of the future,” was the graduation statement of Magsasaka Siyentista Jonie L. Fernandez. He came all the way from El Nido, Palawan to attend the Training of Trainers on Vegetable Production with NCII in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro.
Fernandez was committed in participating in the season-long activity because he wanted to learn more so that he could share new knowledge to his co-farmers in El Nido. He also convinced his co-participants to continue discovering more on the field of agriculture. “There are lots of things to know and while the world goes round, there are always changes and updates on the ways of farming. We should always be informed on these new technologies because these will be helpful for us,” he said.
Extension worker Vanessa L. Tayaba from Marinduque was equally grateful as she described her four-month training in ATI with the words – Accommodating, Teamwork and Immeasurable. “A” which stood for ACCOMMODATING was for ATI’s willingness to do things in helping them out doing their job as extension workers. TEAMWORK on the other hand was what she witnessed as among the skills that stood out of the ATI staff as a group. Tayaba recognized how hard ATI employees worked together to impart knowledge and information to the farmers and trainers. Lastly, “I” was for the IMMEASURABLE feeling that Tayaba felt of being an extension worker. Teary-eyed, she expressed the sense of fulfillment she felt just by seeing the farmers happy. “To the farmers, if you only know, just watching your smiles makes us very very happy in spite of the difficulties.” Tayaba assured ATI that they would continue reaching out, building dreams, and changing lives.
ATI Director Asterio P. Saliot commended the interests of the participants who eagerly convinced their mayors and chose to fulfil their obligations to their fellow farmers. He pointed that organic farming is not new. This was done by the forefathers and was only changed because people nowadays no longer want to undergo a tiring process in making natural fertilizers or pesticides and the likes. Wanting the more convenient means, the traditional ways in farming slowly waned. Magsasaka Siyentista, farmers, and extension workers have been capacitated through ATI’s programs to make them instruments in showing that there is money in the natural way of farming.
Saliot further put emphasis on giving importance to the efforts and contributions of the agriculture workers. He said that interventions can only become successful if everyone will work together harmoniously. “It is now the right time to reach out, to spread the knowledge and to help build dreams. Let us fulfill the dreams of our farmers so that change in their way of living will be realized.” The Director disagreed on looking at farmers as heroes of the future because for him, “farmers are the heroes of today.”