18 Filipino Young Farmers Off to Japan to Learn New Farming Techniques

Agriculture Secretary Alcala, ATI Director Saliot with YFFTPJ participants (Photo by Clemente A. Gabion)

Diliman, Quezon City--- Eighteen young Filipino farmers are preparing for an intensive on-farm training in Japan to learn new farming techniques, agricultural management skills and participate in farm youth activities.

The course is part of the Young Filipino Farmers Training in Japan (YFFTPJ) Program, a collaboration of the Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC) and the Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The YFFTPJ is also a counterpart program of the ASEAN Young Farm Leaders Training Program in Japan.

The participants comprised of 18 young Filipino farmers, all male 4-H club members from 20 to 26 years old and from regions I, II, III, V, VI, VIII, XI, XII and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). They have been selected out of over 100 applicants after a rigid screening from the regions to the national selection.

The young farmer-trainees are undergoing the four phases of the YFFTPJ program. The first phase is a 40-day Home-Stay Module that started last December 8, 2014 until January 16, 2015. The trainees were assigned to their designated host Filipino farmers in regions I, II, III, V, VII, XI, XII and CAR. They underwent actual exposures in the farm like performing hands-on and practicum activities. Visiting other farms and agricultural institutions, learning conversational Nihongo language and physical fitness were part of the screening test whether they can cope with the rigors of farming in Japan.

The second phase of the program is the 75-day Pre-Departure Orientation Course (PDOC), an intensive technical training coordinated and conducted with various institutions mandated and specialized on technologies such as rice, vegetable, swine and cattle production and farm Business planning and mechanization. In addition, computer literacy, formal Nihongo language course, basic Japanese culture and tradition, values formation and the like will be inculcated to the trainees. The PDOC started last January 25, 2015 and will run until April 8, 2015 at the Enterprise Laboratory at the ATI Central Office, Diliman, Quezon City. The young farmers will visit demo farms, research laboratories and other agricultural places within the Luzon area during this course.

The highlight of this program is the 11-month intensive on-farm training in Japan under the Japanese host farmers of JAEC. This will start on April 10, 2015 until February 2016. A post training and evaluation will follow when they go back to the Philippines next year. This will consist of a five-day training focusing on project proposal preparation, orientation on agricultural and fishery councils, volunteerism, people-centered development, entrepreneurship extension approaches, methodologies and facilitating skills. The young farmers will also share their experiences and evaluation of the training program. (with reports from Althea R. Defiesta)