Glyza Bandiola, 18, loves planting and farming ever since she was a kid. But is this enough to sustain this interest? The youth from General Santos said that her teachers in school inspire her to take a career in agriculture.
“[Our teachers’] passion is very evident in the way they share agriculture lessons and in doing farm activities with us. Their dedication to help us inspires me,” Glyza said.
A senior high school student from Baluan National High School (BNHS) in General Santos City, South Cotabato, Glyza intends to be part of the agriculture and research field someday and help the rice farmers.
“I choose agriculture as my major. In college, I also see myself enrolling in an agriculture course to [continue disseminating technologies] that can give farmers stable income and abundant harvest, rain or shine,” the Best in AgriCrop student awardee said.
Glyza’s school is one of the TecVoc schools under the “Development of Agriculture TechVoc High Schools Offering Crops Production as Key Information Hubs on Climate Change Ready Rice Production Technologies for Improved Productivity.” The project is funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research and implemented by Philippine Rice Research Institute.
Through this project, she learned about Sorjan farming – a farming practice from Indonesia, in which farmers construct an alternate of deep sinks and raised beds.
“It’s [good to know that farmers are not helpless amidst climate change, and that there are easy technologies that they can practice]. We experienced implementing this technology with our own hands,”Glyza, one of the students who established the school’s first Sorjan farming system, said.
Moreover, she learned how to use farm machines, which she only used to see in pictures and books.
Essential roles of teacher
Edmar Juanitez, BNHS TecVoc teacher and one of Glyza’s teachers, has been involved in the project since 2015, the Infomediary Campaign. According to him, the implementation of the project in their school is successful in terms of convincing their students to pursue agriculture careers.
“Many of our students decided to take up agriculture courses in college. Their experiences in TecVoc made them realize that there are a lot of good career opportunities waiting for them when they graduate,” he said.
For Edmar, engaging the youth in rice farming is quite challenging owing to the negative connotations attached to it. However, he noted that one of the most effective ways of teaching agriculture to the youth is explaining to them the effects and benefits, and making them realize their roles in solving pressing issues such as climate change.
“I’m proud to say that this project with PhilRice produced good results. It helped in making the students understand climate change and their role in addressing this issue. This project also encouraged students to share what they have learned to the farmers in the community,” he said.