From plows to profits TESDA readies farmers for mechanized farming

25 March 2012

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will help the country’s farmers prime up for mechanized farming and enhance their livelihood skills through training.

In the next two years, TESDA will work with five government agencies to equip agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) with the skills needed in the safe and efficient operation of farm implements aimed at increasing productivity and crop value, and maximizing the benefits of the land.

"TESDA will also provide farmers with the relevant training to help them transform from mere producers to entrepreneurs, which could spur economic growth in the rural areas and generate jobs," TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said.

The training program, which will be implemented through the Agrarian Reform Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS), was agreed by and contained in a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed among TESDA, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

The agreement tasked the five agencies to work together to teach the farmers adopt new technology on modern agriculture and agri-related areas; adopt a business operation of common service facility (CSF) in farming for the communal use of ARBs and other small farmers; and, introduce the concept of business and management coaching to ARBs to prepare them in turning their agricultural activities into profitable, sustainable and viable businesses.

It will also provide the small farmers the mechanics and avenues to access competitively-priced credit to finance their farming activities and production inputs, and to ready and steady market for their produce at competitive prices.

As part of its initial activities, TESDA has begun coordinating with DAR provincial offices in putting together and validating some 200 project proposals from the ARBs.

Among the pressing needs identified by the farmers was the training for the repair and maintenance of farm equipment.

"In the future, we envision farm lots having tractors, harvesters, threshers and other mechanized equipment to help solve labor scarcity during peak season and ensure the quality of harvests. Through the training to be provided, TESDA assures that farmers will have the know-how in actually operating them," Villanueva said.

Through its network of technical-vocational institutions, TESDA would also be able to provide the farmers the opportunity to take up courses to increase their knowledge about farming and learn new skills.

Villanueva acknowledged that much still needs to be done to revive the agricultural sector by focusing on the potential of the farmers and beefing up the implements that they need to ensure greater productivity and sustainable farming activity.

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