Government boosts program for agricultural training centers

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has launched three major initiatives for its nationwide network of training centers.

The attached bureau of the Department of Agriculture (DA) banks on the opportunities and possibilities of the ongoing technological advancements as it celebrated its 36th anniversary celebration in the past week with the theme “ATI LEADS: Innovate, Transform, Empower – Embracing Extension Modernization for a Progressive and Sustainable Agriculture and Fisheries.”

The ATI introduced the Unified Extension System Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Information System (UnExSys) which will be used for information management and harmonization of the agri-fishery extension services.

The system is seen to ensure effective and efficient resource mapping, planning, monitoring, and evaluation of ATI programs, projects, and activities.

Meanwhile, the institute bared its Agriculture and Fisheries Extension (AFE) Strategic Plan 2023-2028, which will serve as a blueprint for reframing the sector and transforming the country’s food systems to become more productive, efficient, sustainable, and resilient.

Created together with the National Extension System for Agriculture and Fisheries, the strategic plan comprises of four strategic objectives, namely, enhancing capacities of extension workers and farmer-leaders;  improving competitiveness through agripreneurship; ensuring nourishment of farmers and their families;  and strengthening partner institutions and primary producers.

To further empower its stakeholders, ATI also launched the new brand of the Digital Farmers Program (DFP) as it expands its services to increase mobile and internet literacy and introduce various digital applications and platforms for farm productivity and livelihood.

This is implemented in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications.

The new DFP components will include Farm Learn or capacity-building; Farm Tech or package of technology; Farm Connect or linkage between farmers and digital agriculture services; and Farm Seal or certification of Smart Learning Sites for Agriculture.

ATI also signed a memorandum of understanding for credit assistance for youth agripreneurs and commitment signing for the work and financial plan for fiscal year 2023.

Last year, more than 135,000 clients were served through over 3,000 training and other extension-related activities conducted by the ATI. These include training courses on agricultural production, specifically for rice, corn, high-value crops, coconut, livestock, and poultry.

The institute also focused on providing capacity-enhancement services to help address the effects of African swine fever, fall armyworm, and climate change. Its network also promoted the practice of food production in household levels through the Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Program and training on food safety.

Farm Business School programs and other entrepreneurship training, as well as farm mechanization, postharvest, processing, logistics, and marketing support training, were held to level up farmers’ skills and attitude towards agribusiness and the agricultural value chain.

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