Patin-Ay, Agusan del Sur – Farmers in Agusan del Sur are now equipped with knowledge on how to cope with the impacts of climate change after graduating from a 4-month School On the Air (SOA) training program conducted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
Titled “Giya sa Responsableng Pagpanguma” or Guide in Responsible Farming, PhilRice Agusan assisted 250 rice farmers, agriculture students and faculty of Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT), and agriculture extension workers on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“Making radio the medium of information was not easy. In our pre-test, almost 80% of the participants had low scores in the diagnostic exam or had lesser knowledge about climate change. Thus, we were challenged to make the program as informative as possible. It was all worth it when after four months, all of the participants got high scores and passed the post-test,” said Dr. Gerardo F. Estoy Jr., PhilRice study lead.
The SOA has been an avenue for the participants to study the effects of climate change in rice production and adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices. Technologies and strategic practices on climate change mitigation were also emphasized.
The participants were given a kilo of registered seeds each and SOA kits which include reading materials on climate change. Outstanding SOA students were also given plaques of appreciation and rechargeable transistor radios by the Department of Agriculture Region XIII.
“The use of mass media is a strategic reform to intensify the campaign for rice sufficiency through extension work. We are privileged to have been partners with the department in extending help to the agriculture sector of the region,” said Dr. Juarlito V. Garcines, ASSCAT President.
Upon graduation, the farmers are expected to help raise the bar of performance in climate change adaptation and mitigation in the province, and share to their fellow farmers the knowledge they learned from the SOA. The provincial government is also extending help by providing seeds and post-harvest facilities to the farmers.
The SOA is in partnership with the Regional Agriculture Fisheries Council (RAFC), Provincial Agriculture Office of Agusan del Sur and the Municipal Agriculture Office of Bunawan, ASSCAT, and DA-RFO 13.