Agri workers, farmer grads to undergo technical training

17 June 2011

Agricultural extension workers (AEWs) and farmer graduates are getting a boost from the government through trainings and assessment to enhance their technical know-how in helping run the country’s farm lands.

A partnership by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) will give training, competency assessment and certificate to AEW and qualified farmer graduates who will pass the assessment.

The DA will identify the participants who will undergo the competency assessment and trainers methodology training, which would be conducted by the TESDA.

Both agencies will review the existing curriculum, training modules and materials to align them with TESDA’s agriculture-related courses.

The tie-up was contained in a Memorandum of Agreement signed by TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala this week.

“Agricultural extension workers are the first link of the government to the farmers.  They are like the soldiers of the Department of Agriculture in the field,” Villanueva said.

According to him, farm workers depend on AEWs for technical advice and information.  The success of extension programs to a large degree will be determined by the ability of the extension worker to pass on to farmers new ideas and technical know-how, Villanueva said.

Undergoing trainings, assessment and receiving certification are therefore vital for AEWs to ensure that they help the farm workers reach their full potentials in making their lands useful and productive, he added.

AEWs were formerly directly under the supervision of the national government through the DA, but were devolved to the local government units under the Local Government Code of 1991.

They are seen as vital links to the small farmers and fishermen in implementing agriculture and fisheries project of the administration.

Both TESDA and DA agreed to establish the implementing guidelines for upgrading the quality of agriculture-related training programs; provide technical assistance in the implementation of program activities; source out funds from partners to sustain the program; develop a sustainability plan for the continuing education as well as capability-enhancement and professionalization of AEWs and farmer leader graduates; and, monitor the progress and accomplishment of the project and performance of the institutions involved.

The agencies also hope to expand the availability of agriculture-related tech-voc training courses for farmers and members of their families and expand the access of rural farm youth to agriculture-related tech-voc courses through mobilization of resources for scholarships.

The DA will shoulder the fees for training and assessment of AEWs through its Agricultural Training Institutes.

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