Written by the Web Team
Farmers` children are living up to the expectation of Jose Rizal, the greatest Filipino hero, as “the hope of the nation” by becoming infomediaries or those who access information for others.
Youth involved in the Sagot ko ang Magulang ko, a campaign led by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), which aims to mobilize youth to be agriculture infomediaries, are creating impact in the rural areas after almost a year of implementation.
Now implemented in more than 70 technical-vocational schools nationwide, the campaign engages high school students in learning rice farming-related topics and using the Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank, a website that contains most information on rice farming in the Philippines, and the PhilRice Farmers` Text Center, a platform that answers queries on rice production.
Jayson C. Berto, campaign research assistant, said the infomediaries in Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Aklan, Albay, Saranggani, Eastern Samar, and Zamboanga del Norte had helped establish their school`s rice garden, accessed online and mobile information sources, and published rice technologies in their school publications.
In Cagayan, the survey team found that students and administrators of Claveria Rural School partnered with the local government unit to establish a school rice garden. The school utilized a 200 m2-portion of the farm owned by the town’s vice-mayor, Solferino A. Agra Jr, where the use of certified rice varieties was showcased.
Berto said that during the first cropping, the use of certified seeds resulted in 5 t/ha; encouraging teachers and farmers to produce good seeds from the harvest.
“This also motivated the local government to expand the demonstration area to 1,000 m2 in the second cropping so that more rice technologies can be showcased,” Berto said.
In Bagumbayan Agro Industrial School in Davao Oriental, the survey team noted that the 3kg rice seeds planted in the 3,000 m2-rice garden had produced 1.25 t; raising the interest of neighbouring farmers to buy seeds from the school.
Meanwhile, youth`s parents said they frequently request their children to seek rice farming recommendations by texting the PhilRice Text Center, reading PhilRice information materials, and searching the internet.
Parents revealed in a focused group discussion that their children`s training as infomediaries strengthened the students` credibility in sharing information. Almost all of the parents believe in the information imparted by their children because they were trained and that they are also good in class.
Some parents also challenged their children to recommend technologies as they are taking an agriculture course.
The survey team also found that students published PhilRice technologies in their school publications for their parents, relatives, and the farming communities to read. Campaign activities such as field days, quiz bee, and site visitations were also written in the school newspapers.
The Sagot ko ang Magulang ko campaign was launched in December 2012 through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.