In its 34th year, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) grows further in its mission to empower agriculture and fishery stakeholders through quality training and advisory services as the sector continues to survive, reboot, and grow despite challenges.
With the theme “ATI @ 34 LEADS in Mobilizing & Empowering Partners & Communities Towards One DA”, the Institute underscores its commitment as the lead agency for extension to the key strategies of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in steering agri-fishery growth and transformation this 2021.
To address threats and maximize opportunities in agri-fishery extension, the ATI introduced “Extension LEADS” as its new strategic framework in 2020. This framework represents the blueprint of the national extension system in helping attain enhanced food security, increased rural incomes, reduced rural underemployment and unemployment, and sustainable development.
“LEADS” stand for Learn (training); Exhibit (technology demonstration); Advise (farm or business advisory services); Disseminate (information support services); and Support (governance). These thematic areas are expected to be the driving force for extension service to lead in changing the mindset of the clients to scale up their knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices towards agripreneurship.
Guided by this thrust, the ATI network forged ahead with its initiatives in 2020 despite the restrictions and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Capability-building activities on various programs along the value chain were held using different methods and strategies such as face-to-face learning, distance learning (modular, radio, television, or online), and/or blended learning.
Overall, more than 1,800 training and other-training related activities were conducted in 2020 in support to the promotion and use of appropriate modern technologies to sustainably produce major staples, high-value crops, livestock, poultry, and fishery products. In total, the ATI network served over 79,000 clients across the country, around 47,000 of whom are farmers and fishers.
In response to the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF), a series of advocacy campaigns were conducted through briefing and information caravans, as well as training activities on Biosecurity, Surveillance, and Sample Collection for ASF Control.
For the Rice Extension Services Program under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund, over 970 individuals were trained as trainers on the production of high-quality inbred rice and seeds and farm mechanization. Around 550 seed growers, inspectors, analysts, and other extension intermediaries also took part in the 24 training activities held for inbred rice seed production and seed certification.
Apart from these, capability-building activities; extension support; information, education, and communication services; and farm and business advisory services were conducted to further the promotion of urban agriculture under the “Plant, Plant, Plant” Program. Support was also provided for the youth, marginalized groups, and small and medium enterprises.
For 2021, the ATI sets its sights on new initiatives in line with the 12 key strategies of the “OneDA” approach. These include the implementation of the Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension System and mobilizing and empowering partners, including local government units, to attain economies of scale.
Early this year, Agriculture Secretary William Dar directed all DA officials and staff to “pursue an inclusive approach on these key strategies” to modernize and industrialize the value chains in Philippine agriculture. These strategies will guide the Department in pursuing new programs and activities towards a modest growth of 2.5 percent this year.
The ATI’s 34th founding anniversary will be commemorated respectively in the Central Office and the training centers on January 29, 2021. Simple festivities following health and safety protocols will be conducted, including the recognition of loyalty awardees. The performance review for FY 2020 and commitment signing for FY 2021 are also scheduled on February 8-9.