MACTAN, CEBU ― Around 1,000 local farmer technicians (LFTs) and government workers from all over the country gathered during the National Convention for LFTs to discuss issues, concerns, and solutions on LFT implementation, 27-28 Nov.
DA Assistant Secretary Edilberto M. De Luna addressed the LFTs who act as active partners of the DA and local government units in promoting and disseminating rice farm technologies.
De Luna, who is also the National Rice & Corn Programs coordinator, encouraged sharing of new technologies and innovations among the regions that can improve policies in the DA.
“Other than LGUs, communities should also recognize the capabilities of LFTs. To achieve this, we need to make the level of skills and competency of the LFTs at par with agricultural extension workers in LGUs,” De Luna said.
He encouraged the participants to plant and cultivate crops other than rice referring to PhilRice’s Palayamanan Plus, an integrated rice-based farming system program.
The two-day convention facilitated discussions on issues and concerns on LFT implementation and workshops on action plans per region.
Outstanding LFTs were also recognized during the opening program. Adonis V. Ombid, one of the awardees from Region 12, says that there should be more training programs and conventions to further advance their knowledge and be acquainted with new and upcoming farming technologies.
Meanwhile, communication specialists from PhilRice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) presented ICT-based resources to aid LFTs in their farming practices.
Some of the technologies presented were diagnostic tools such as the Minus-One Element Technique (MOET) application, Rice Doctor, and Rice Crop Manager; web-based knowledge resources such as the Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank; and mobile-based knowledge resources such as the PhilRice Text Center, and Farmer’s Contact Center.
The LFT Program aims to develop a core of qualified and trained rice farmers as reinforcement of LGU-based agricultural extension workers in developing and promoting modern rice production and post-production technologies.
DA estimates about 1,600 LFTs nationwide for irrigated, rainfed, and upland ecosystems as of September 2015.