Last August and September this year, I was privilege to attend separate workshops in Dumaguete and Davao Cities. I experienced the hospitality and progress of these two popular cities. In Dumaguete City, you will be greeted by friendly and smiling people, and relatively peaceful surroundings wherever you go. No wonder this place is known as the “city of gentle people.” In Davao city, you will be overwhelmed by the various varieties of fresh, cheap and delicious fruits in almost any corner of the market. Both cities are centers of education in their respective regions.
The recent typhoon Undoy and Pepeng that struck Metro Manila and Luzon brought great damages to life, property, agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure. Fear and worry was experienced when almost non-stop winds and heavy rains pounded the place. The creeks, rivers and lakes swelled and flooded the lowland areas. The mountains were eroded. Landslides damaged the roads, the bridges and many houses. People in affected areas were scampering for safety while the unlucky ones perished. We asked where is the safe ground? where is my protection? to whom will I run for refuge?
"How do you define a farmer in the context of the Farmers' Contact Center?" This was raised during the Regional Workshop on the Knowledgebase Creation for A&F on September 16-17, 2009 at La Rica Hotel, Tacloban City.
Considering the state of most of our farmers, the following queries keep popping in my mind: Do our farmers (common farmers) really have access to telephone lines and internet? Do they have time to avail of this service, knowing that most often they are busy in their fields? Do they know how to use these technologies?
As part of my extension tasks and functions, I often travel to various places. In these places I often tend to be observant and inquisitive. I ask people what the place is known for, how the place got its name, the culture of the people, the delicacies in the area, the agricultural products, the lodging houses and hotels, the transportation and communication facilities, the peace and order and the political situation of the area. In essence, I am asking about the trademarks of the place.
As we are conducting our regional consultations for the establishment of the Farmers Contact Center, we heard from our partners in the field their various ideas, perspectives, suggestions and comments on opening a new mode of communication with our clients. Some accepted the idea, some though may have doubts if this is really possible, if we can do it, if it would be acceptable to everybody. Though the idea of this initiative is evolving, we are open to whatever will come our way and we will try to fit it if we can to whatever we do.
Establishing the e-extension program of the Department of Agriculture is a monumental task. The Agricultural Training Institute is mandated to lead the e-extension program in the country by virtue of Department Order no.03 s 2007. This is a noble function but surely an additional task. Ms.
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.