By Minerva BC Newman

TAGBILARAN CITY – Bohol governor Arthur Yap asked the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI-7 to support farming learning centers and accredit more agricultural learning sites in his bid to push and boost food security through massive production, especially now that the COVID-19 crisis and home quarantine forced more families to focus on backyard farming/agriculture for own food supply.

Yap personally asked the ATI in one of the virtual meetings of the Strategic Communications Cluster of the Bohol Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) to give more attention to learning sites in the agriculture-fishery sector.

ATI-7 Regional Director and Training Center Superintendent Dr. Carolyn Mae Daquio said that the ATI has accredited 19 Agricultural Learning Sites (ALS) where people who are inclined to learn about new agricultural technologies can go, practice and learn.

Daquio said these learning centers are all operational farms strategically located in the three districts of Bohol and has accreditation certificates for three years.

First district has nine ALS that included five learning centers that are focused on Integrated Diversified Organic Farming (IDOF) based in public elementary and secondary schools like Manga National High School, San Isidro National High School, Eastern Cogon Elementary School, Dao Farmville of Dao Elementary School Dao District in Tagbilaran City, and Busao National High School of Busao Maribojoc, Daquio bared.

She added that four other accredited ALS centers included IYAAH Eco Farm in San Isidro District, Tagbilaran City; Egay’s Farm of Bingag, Dauis; GreenThumb Farm of Sambog Corella which is into mushroom production; and Mayor Lucas Asotigue Permaculture Farm which is into Diversified Permaculture Farming in Triple Union, Catigbian.

In the 2nd district there are four ATI-accredited ALS centers located at the Sikatuna National Agricultural High School of Sikatuna, Talibon; Ubay Stock Farm of Lumangog Ubay; Dagon sa Hoyohoy Farm of Babag, Dagohoy; and Teofil’s Garden of Camambugan, Ubay, all of which are into organic farming, Daquio bared.

Daquio went on that Bohol 3rd district has six ATI-accredited learning/training centers that included the Jolit’s Farm of Cambacay Batuan; Oikos Place and Wellness Garden in Zamora, Bilar; JQL Organic Farm of Luyo Dimiao; Toting’s Farm of Lagtangan Sevilla; Mayana Upper Sampong Organic Farm of Sampong, Mayana, Jagna; and Labonite Family Farm of San Isidro, Pilar, also into organic farming.

She stated that after accreditation and should the farm owners decide to showcase their farms into tourism areas, they may apply for the accreditation at the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the region. “If they can do that, aside from agricultural learners their farms can also become areas for tourism,” Daquio said.

Yap said that even with the existing learning/training sites he noted that there are more families now who have more than enough time due to quarantines.

“More learning sites can encourage more families and communities to learn, grow and produce their own food and push backyard/community farming as a livelihood option in times of COVID-19,” the governor added.