The beauty of Husband and Wife Teams

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With tears in her eye, the wife was effusive in her appreciation to the training that the ATI sponsored. “This is the first time that my husband participated actively and positively in a training”. The husband and wife team were participants in a training on Integrated Organic Farming at Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna.

Another husband and wife team in the same training, were also very hopeful. “I brought my wife along so that she won’t hesitate to give me money when I undertake new projects” the enthusiastic husband said. Infact, they even asked their two children who are studying in UPLB to join us for them to see the viability of organic farming and hopefully convince them to go back home to farm. “They need to see a real profitable organic farm”, the father said.

I’ve met many situations like this in the twenty years that I am in the training business. A husband or a wife wanting to apply the learnings that they gained from the training we conducted was subjected to disappointment. When they go back, raring to implement what they have learned, their partners put a damper to their enthusiasm by being a devil’s advocate. The reasons of the objections vary. It is either that the technology is difficult, not realistic or that it is costly. The result is like a balloon that is slowly losing air - another waste of government resources.

Observing these two husband and wife teams who joined the training, I’ve realized that if we really want our technologies and practices to be adopted, then it would be better if we train both husband and wives together at the same time. Training them in two separate batches would lose the momentum and enthusiasm of the first trainee. However, the training must be exemplary just like what we had at Costales Nature Farms. Convincing farmers to go organic is really difficult. Thus bringing them to a profitable working farm is a must. Second, the owners of the farm should be open about the practices and technologies that they are using. It is so frustrating when the owner doesn’t share his “secrets to success.” Third, Hands-on activities like organic feed formulation, organic fertilizer production, production of organic concoctions and many others should be experienced by the participants. Fourth, farm immersion activities should also be integrated such as planting, harvesting, feeding, processing and many others.

Looking around and seeing the many visitors in the week-long stay that we had, one could immediately conclude that the farm is very productive and doing very well income-wise. The activities plus the inputs given to us has turned even the most skeptical to a fan. That could be the reason of the gratefulness that was expressed to us by one of the wives. She said that she has long wanted to go organic but she didn’t get the support of her husband. Thus seeing her husband’s active participation like shoveling, watering or even planting as part of the training, was a welcome relief. From what I heard from the two husband and wife teams, they plan to implement immediately the learnings that they got. Infact, they couldn’t wait to go home. They even promised visible results in 18 months. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.