DILIMAN, Quezon City—The Task Group on Food Security of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) held a virtual presser where Department of Agriculture (DA) Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Assistant Director Rosana Mula gave updates on the training and extension services under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).
Reyes and Mula talked about the key components of RCEF, specifically the rice extension services program (RESP) which, the latter explained,is still on course despite being delayed because of the pandemic. She also introduced the four components of the RESP, namely,training, communication, Farm School, and scholarships.
Mula shared the implementing measures and other activities under RCEF and other related programs in the face of COVID-19. This is in partnership with other government agencies, local government units (LGUs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), and the private sector.
Information caravans are currently being heldthrough various platforms for targeted RCEF beneficiaries nationwide.The development and distribution of digital and printed copies of information, education, and communication (IEC) materials, including briefers for trainers, farmers, fishers, and youth, are also ongoing.
Meanwhile, the establishment of Farm Schools and the conduct of Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS) have been modified to ensure that the health and safety of farmers are not compromised. The number of FFS participantsis now limited to 10-15,with modified duration offive and a half days from 14 days, to minimize contact and mass gathering.
For those who cannot enroll in the FFS, school-on-the-air programs are being held by the ATI Regional Training Centers (RTCs) with partner radio stations. These programs, whichare based on rice production modules,can also be streamed on the RTCs’ official Facebook pages and Youtube channels. Other topics related to agriculture are also being discussed.
For her part, Mula reassured the public of the institute’s commitment to fully implement the provisions of RCEF and other extension programs using the available platforms to reach the target audience at large.
Likewise, Reyes thanked the farmers, fishers, and other stakeholders for the continuous production of food for every household in support to the Department’s “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita” credo.
Other projects discussed during the virtual presser were the urban agriculture initiatives of the ATI and the Bureau of Plant Industry, the African swine fever, and youth engagement in agriculture.
The virtual presser was streamed on Facebook last July 14 from the DA Central Office in this city.