Recognizing the Magsasaka Siyentista's Crucial Role in Agricultural Extension

Participants talk about their insights on the current state of the Magsasaka Siyentista in their respective regions.

DILIMAN, Quezon City -- Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) or farmer-scientist is a title earned by a farmer who has been successful in his/her use of science and technology-based indigenous technologies in his farm. Complementing the Farmers' Information Technology Services (FITS) Center in farming technology dissemination, the MS plays a critical role in sharing his farming knowledge and experiences as proliferated in the framework of the Techno Gabay Program (TGP).
 
As one of the four modalities of the Techno Gabay Program, MS alongside the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategies, TGP aims to bring science-based information and technology services to the agriculture sector. A program initiated by Department of Science and Technology's Philippine Council on Agriculture, Aquaculture and Natural Resources Research and Development, the TGP, as proven effective for agricultural extension services, was later turned over to the Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in 2012 to institutionalize the program.
 
With this and recognizing the importance of the MS, the ATI, through its Partnerships and Accreditation Division (PAD) and Information Services Division (ISD), initiated a reorientation and planning workshop for the MS. Apart from re-orienting the MS of their purpose, the activity served as a means to plot out their activities by region for 2017 and 2018 and paved way for the reorganization of the group of Magsasaka Siyentista. Furthermore, a short sharing of best practices enabled the participants to share and learn sustainable and replicable farm practices from each other. The activity was attended by regional presidents and representatives of the MS associations in the country, along with the Institute's regional TGP coordinators and focal persons for rural-based organizations. 
 
Antonieta J. Arceo, Chief of the ATI-ISD, emphasized the power of the MS to influence his/her co-farmers and the importance to use the influence in sharing knowledge, established farming technologies, and good practices. She encouraged them to actively walk their purpose to stand as the bridge between research and extension.
 
WIth a total of 42 participants, the three-day event titled “Magsasaka Siyentista Reorientation and Planning Workshop” was held at Serrano Hall of the ATI Central Office in this City from November 9 to 11, 2016.