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Establishment of farm schools: a strategy in achieving rural development

The Provincial Technical Education and Skills Development Committee (PTESDC) Meeting of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA Marinduque) was conducted last Friday, 18 August 2017 at Goodchow Dining and Function Hall, Boac, Marinduque. 

The committee was created to enhance the partnership between the public and private sectors involved in the delivery of Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Marinduque. 

Members of the committee are Governor Carmencita O. Reyes (represented by Provincial Administrator Baron L. Lagran) as Chairman; PTESDC Vice Chairman Mr. Enrico Miguel C. Sanchez as TVET Sector Representative; Director Rodolfo J. Mariposque (Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Director) as Government Sector Representative; Goodchow Dining and Function Hall Manager Mrs. Lorie Uy as Employer Sector Representative; AGREA President and Founding Farmer Ms. Cherrie D. Atilano (represented by AGREA Directors Rafael Seño and Jonathan Quinto, and AGREA Associate Director Vanessa Nicopior) as Agriculture Sector Representative; and Boac-Mogpog Operators and Drivers Association Adviser Mr. Teodoro M. Madla as Labor Sector Representative. 

Part of their function as a policy-making body is the formulation of resolutions on TESDA concerns such as scholarships, Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS), and Competency Assessment and Certification Program in the province. 

READ: Strategic partnerships: vital in creating sustainable solutions to social problems

Accelerate the establishment of farm schools 
Likewise, the focus of discussion in the meeting highlighted the Program on Accelerating Farm School Establishment (PAFSE) in order to assist in the promotion of sustainable Agriculture and Fishery activity and rural development, by providing access to TVET at the countryside through the farm schools. 

THE AGREA MODEL FARM has a 250sqm functional vermicomposting facility, an area for organic fertilizer and pesticide production, greenhouses, elevated plant beds, seedling area, nursery, organic chicken coup, a training facility, four resident farm workers, and agriculturists.

The general objective of PAFSE is to accelerate the establishment of farm schools in all municipalities nationwide. This is to ensure that poor farmers and fisher folks, their families and relatives gain appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in increasing the farm productivity through technology updates and entrepreneurial activities, thus improving their economic status. 

Specifically, the project aims to provide scholarship grants to the farmers and fisher folks, their families and relatives, extension workers and facilitators and trainers to assist the farm owners in building the capability and capacity of their farms thus increase their productivity. 

READ: AGREA is now a Certified Organic Agriculture Learning Site

Long term goal of rural development
About half of all Filipinos live in rural – farming or fishing – areas and 70 percent of the poor families in our country are rural. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the poverty incidence among fishermen is 39.2 percent, and among farmers, 38.3 percent.

The average income of Filipino farmers, whose average age is 57 years, is only P2,300.00 a month, working on his 1.5-hectare farm. The younger generation, who saw their parents grow old and poor in farming, do not see agriculture as a lucrative career.

Farming in the Philippines cannot support a family. There is no assurance that there will be a “successor” farmer to take over the task of producing food for the growing population.

Providing access to TVET thru the Agri-Fishery farm schools is one of the strategies in achieving the long-term goal of rural development.

AGREA is the first TESDA-accredited Farm School in Marinduque
As the first TESDA-accredited farm school in Marinduque, AGREA offers a program in Organic Agriculture Production NCII covering competencies in raising organic chicken, producing organic vegetables, producing organic fertilizers and concoctions, applying safety measures in farm operations, practicing career professionalism, and applying safety measures in farm operations, among others.

READ: AGREA: First TESDA-accredited Farm School in Marinduque

In the next weeks, AGREA and TESDA will be announcing the start of applications for the Organic Agriculture Production NCII course offered in Marinduque.

To know more details about AGREA's existing Organic Backyard Gardening Skills Training, Vermicomposting, and Organic Fertilizer and Concoctions Production, call/text AGREA Secretariat through Mobile +63 917 124 0905, Landline (042) 332 0025, or Email agreaph@gmail.com. 

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