By Myriam Layaoen, DA StratComms
With the pressing demand to boost food production, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) are joining efforts to conduct more trainings to further enhance the skills and know-how of farmers and farmworkers under the “new normal” era in agricultural production, and food value chain.
“Our farmers need a complete package of support and technical assistance to enable them to produce more. In this regard, we welcome the TESDA as a partner as together we confront the ‘new normal’ environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar.
He and TESDA Director-General Secretary Isidro Lapeña recently agreed to craft a training design that will specifically address the emerging needs of farmers in terms of skills development to cope with the current national state of emergency and Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
“While we are combating the COVID-19 pandemic, we should at the same time empower farmers to improve their productivity, and thus contribute to increasing the country’s food adequacy level. And we must assist them to succeed in this quest,” Secretary Dar said.
For his part, Secretary Lapeña in a recent statement said “agriculture has been our top priority, our training institutions are directed to prioritize the agri-sector in allocating budget for their skills training. In this time of pandemic, we are now seeing the importance of food security. We can utilize both big and small spaces to plant vegetables.”
The plan on capacity enhancement for agricultural production will initially focus on urban agriculture, rice production, livestock and poultry raising, among other modules — anchored on the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program or the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) kontra COVID-19.
“With empowered and ‘retooled’ farmers, supported by appropriate technologies and farm inputs, we can claim this win against imminent hunger due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the DA chief.
“We will strongly coordinate with TESDA to hasten the conduct of these trainings in a manner that follows current quarantine protocols,” he added.
The DA through its Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and TESDA jointly conduct training programs and provide scholarship grants under the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), specifically its rice extension program component.