For the Agricultural Extension Workers in our midst

For the Agricultural Extension Workers in our midst

The untiring, grassroots-level, practical service of agricultural extension workers (AEWS) to farmers elicits respect and awe. Their raw desire to service, matter-of-fact acceptance of political realities around them, and relentless search for new ways to help the farmers in their charge… these give me many reasons to look inwards and wish that I could do better.
 
And somehow, queries from AEWs also tell me that ATI’s services matter to them.
 
One AEW is asking for trainings on corn-based silage making to reduce the waste materials from corn and make these usable for livestock. The by-product should also increase the profits from growing corn. He is also requesting for a training on establishing and maintaining fruit trees nurseries for the LGU’s nursery personnel. They are willing to shoulder the training costs.
 
Who could refuse such requests?
 
Another AEW is asking ATI to conduct trainings not just on production of organic foods, but also on the right processing technologies to preserve the organic quality of the produce.
 
Who could doubt the validity of such a request?
 
A conscientious Training Officer wishes ATI will teach LGU-based AEWs how to prepare their very own local agriculture profile. A brochure about the distinguishing agricultural features of a particular city or municipality would really come in handy.
 
Good point, is it not?
 
Another AEW wanted to know if it is true that ATI will handle the task of coalescing rank-and-file AEWs. He said it is good news for them, as the move will counterbalance the rather lopsided attention given by the national government to the organization of Municipal/City/Provincial Agriculturists (through the Devolved Agriculturists of the Philippines, Inc. and the Municipal Agricultural Officers, Municipal and City Agriculturists of the Philippines or LEMMCAP). Especially in poor municipalities, he said, there is need to hear the voice straight from the workhorse’s mouth’ (to modify the idiomatic expression somewhat).
 
Interesting, is it not?
 
Obviously, we want to immediately address these urgent needs. However, there are factors that are simply beyond our control. For one, we have inadequate number of personnel who manage trainings and an avalanche of many other intervening activities competing for time and attention. Funding is another inescapable concern.
 
At the very least, such feedbacks from our hard-working AEWs are cues for ATI to keep going and evolve new ways to serve.