Ready for Takeoff: YFFTPJ Batch 2017 Finishes PDOC

The graduates as they recite their pledge during their graduation ceremony.

DILIMAN, Quezon City – For more than three decades now, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been reaching out to young farmers in rural areas in the Philippines to pass on new agricultural technologies and practices through an exchange program in Japan. This program, called the Young Filipino Farmers Training Program in Japan (YFFTPJ), has recently concluded a Pre-departure Orientation Course (PDOC) for some 18 scholars this year.

Administered by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for 75 days, the PDOC allowed the trainees to visit farms and institutions where they were taught more about farm technology and management. The graduates also underwent character development and were introduced to the Japanese language and culture.

“Natuto po akong mas maging responsible at magkaroon ng initiative. Mahalaga ang bawat sandali kaya dapat maging produktibo sa lahat ng oras,” said Bernard Joseph Fadriquela, the graduate who was the first honor in their Nihonggo classes.

The PDOC is just an introduction to the life that the trainees will have in Japan, as ATI Deputy Director Alfredo Aton echoed, “these hardships are necessary to survive the next steps of the program.” He urged the participants, along with the other speakers, to “make most of your stay in Japan in learning agricultural technologies, at the same time learning their culture and disciplines related to farming.”

Likewise, ATI’s OIC, Director Luz Taposok assured the graduates and their parents that ATI will always support the trainees even long after they were deployed. DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel Cayanan offered an assuring thought to the parents, saying, “The temporary sacrifice will bring a permanent, long-enduring prosperity.”

This year’s batch is composed of young farmers from regions I, II, III, MiMaRoPa, V, VI, VII, VIII, XI, and XII. They are scheduled to leave for Japan on April 12, 2017 and are expected to return to the Philippines by February 2018.

The program was graced by representatives from the prime movers of the YFFTPJ, including: USec Cayanan; Hon. Koji Kaneda, the local coordinator for the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC); Atty. Wednesday Patdu, representative from the office of Senator Cynthia Villar; Director Taposok and Deputy Director Aton; as well as the ATI’s Partnerships and Accreditation Division Chief Engr. Renato Dela Cruz and Assistant Chief Elsa Parot.

The graduation and closing ceremony was held last April 10, 2017, at the Rural Development and Education Center (RDEC) at ATI Compound in this city.