Better extension service can be expected from 67 AgRiDOCs (Agricultural Development Officers of the Community) who completed a 4-month training at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), April 21.
Titled Enabling the AgRiDOC: A New Breed of Agricultural Development and Extension Officers of the Community, the training prepared the AgRiDOCs to help raise the bar of extension services to develop sustainable, competitive, and resilient farming communities.
The AgRiDOC training 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, IPaD project lead, explained that AgRiDOCs have 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.
“The training is unique from any other training I have attended,” said Nashjeehani G. Umbi, AgRiDOC graduate from Cotabato.
“It has renewed my passion for my work as extension worker. I now have a vision to transform the lives of the people in my community,” Umbi said.
Dr. Asterio P. Saliot, ATI director, graced the commencement ceremonies and led the confirmation of graduates. In his speech, he emphasized that AgRiDOCs should have the will, heart, and passion to overcome future challenges of extension work.
“You may not be able to see the fruits of your labor, but if you do something for our farmers as early as today, the future generations will surely reap something. What you have started now, if sustained, will replicate a thousand fold,” Saliot said.
The training roll-out jumpstarted in November 2015 to multiply the number of AgRiDOCs nationwide. With ATI leading the coordination, it was simultaneously conducted in four clusters – cluster 1 and 2 in Luzon, cluster 3 in Visayas, and cluster 4 in Mindanao. Since the conduct of two pilot-tests in 2014, 116 AgRiDOCs have already been produced from different provinces in the country.
Regular course offerings of the training curriculum are expected to begin in 2017.
Project IPaD is being implemented by DA-PhilRice, DA-ATI, and International Rice Research Institute with funding from the DA-National Rice Program through the Bureau of Agricultural Research.