FBS Project Holds Final Mass Graduation in N. Ecija and N. Vizcaya

A total of 840 farmers graduated in the mass graduation of FBS

The trend in agricultural extension is ever-evolving. Gone are the days of production-focused extension as agriculture sector has expanded extension activities to include promotion of entrepreneurship and marketing.

Through the collaboration of the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Services (AMAS), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO-UN) the Farm Business School (FBS) is implemented under the project “Capacity Building of Small Farmers in Entrepreneurship Development and Market Access.” Recently, the project held its mass graduation for the 37 FBS implemented in pilot areas of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya with a total of 840 farmers finishing the course.

In the second cycle of the project Nueva Ecija launched another 22 FBS sites while Nueva Vizcaya launched 18 FBS sites. Three FBS in Muñoz and Solano have conducted their graduations earlier.

The FBS is a season-long “learning-by-doing” extension scheme that enables farmers to learn and improve their knowledge, change their attitudes and enhance their skills toward improved farm profitability – while working on their own farms.

During the graduation ceremony in Nueva Vizcaya, Governor Ruth R. Padilla acknowledged the importance of FBS especially with the upcoming ASEAN economic integration of 2015. “FBS is very timely and appropriate because of the ASEAN integration which will start in 2015,” Padilla said.

“With the knowledge on market access that was shared, farmers can now sell their products in a bigger market with a good price,” Paddilla added.

While national consultant and team leader of the FBS project Gumercindo Tumbali challenged the farmer graduates to be a role model for their fellow farmers, “you must spread the information you learned from this project” Tumbali said.

Since FBS was pilot-tested in Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya, ATI is now tasked to cascade the project in the region through its Regional Training Centers (RTCs).

The FBS mass graduation in Nueva Ecija was held last November 7, 2014 at the Nueva Ecija Convention Center in Palayan City while the mass graduation for Nueva Vizcaya was held last October 21, 2014 at the Highlander Hotel and Resort in Solano.