AgRiDOCs at the Daisy Duran Farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. As catalysts of farm community transformation, the AgRiDOCs did not only sharpen their skills in rice production but also on other crops. Photo shows the vegetable seedling bed with plastic mulch that the AgRiDOCs put up themselves.

Better extension service can be expected from the pilot batch of 25 Luzon agricultural technologists and development officers who completed a 5-month training at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), April 17.

Titled Enabling the AgRiDOC: A new breed of rice extensionists, the course did not only prime the pilot batch of AgRiDOCs  or Agricultural Development Officers of the Community as transmitters of technologies from research centers but as catalysts of farm community transformation.

The training program is a major component of the project Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery through Capability Enhancement of Next-Gen Rice Extension Professionals and Other Intermediaries (IPaD).

Dr. Karen Eloisa T. Barroga, project leader of IPaD, explained that an AgRiDOC has a broader and more active role in the development process, a renewed capacity and attitude in performing their usual roles, and a new set of knowledge and skills to deal with current and future challenges in agriculture.

“When they return to their offices and communities, we expect them to initiate projects that will make rice farming communities competitive, sustainable, and resilient. That is why, we have extended their knowledge on mainly rice to rice-based farming systems, with an entrepreneurial mindset,” Barroga, a chief science research specialist at PhilRice, said.

Conducted at the PhilRice Central Experiment Station from Nov 19, 2014, the training was one of the steps being taken to help strengthen the rice extension system. A second batch of trainees from Visayas and Mindanao will start its program in June 2015.

Regular course offering is expected to start in 2016 and will target from five to seven AgRiDOCs in the major rice producing provinces.

The training program is funded by the DA-National Rice Program through the Bureau of Agricultural Research, and is being implemented by the Philippine Rice Research Institute, the Agricultural Training Institute, and the International Rice Research Institute. IPaD is a project under the Food Staples Sufficiency Program.

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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