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Extensionists and communicators in the government and private sector gathered together at the Central Experiment Station in Maligaya, Nueva Ecija, to strengthen the rice extension system, Sept. 5.

“Our extension system is getting more challenged with the increasing need for precision production, mechanization, and industrialization; growing population and varying consumer needs; and dwindling natural resources. These seemingly complexities are amidst the challenges in preparing the farmers for trade liberalization; and helping them cope with climate change and demand for food security,” said Dr. Karen Eloisa T. Barroga, PhilRice chief researcher and one of the convenors said.

Agencies including the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Asia Rice Foundation, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI); and the National Rice Program implementers of the Department of Agriculture (DA) sat down in a forum titled, Invigorating the Philippine Rice Extension System.

“Farmers and extension workers are also quite getting old and declining in number. With more pressing and difficult issues, the forum identified guiding principles and provided inputs to policy recommendations for an improved rice extension system,” she said.

Barroga said that the recommendations were derived from the integrated lessons, initiatives, and innovations that the participants experienced within and outside the country.

Asterio P. Saliot, ATI director presented the state of the Philippine agricultural extension system while Dr. Virginia R. Cardenas, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture Deputy Director for Administration, talked on The New Extensionist: Toward a Broader Conceptualization of Extension to the 150 participants.

Winners of the Name your Rice Extensionist, a contest to generate the name suited for the new breed of rice extension professionals, was also awarded during the forum. DA-IRRI project on Improving Promotion and Delivery sponsored the contest to search for a new name that will capture the essence of the new rice extensionists.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute