Agricultural Training Institute RTC-XI holds mass graduation on SOA, number of graduates up

SOA graduation in davaoMATINA APLAYA, DAVAO CITY - The Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) commitment to improve the lives of farmers in the country by increasing their productivity through technology transfer continues.

This was attested with a mass graduation on School-on-the-Air (SOA) on Pests, Diseases, Harvest and Postharvest of Corn) program was held to commemorate the farmer-graduates coming from the different localities of Region XI. An impressive total of 609 graduates graced the event with Samal province as the most number of graduates produced with 140; Davao City came close with 125; Compostela Valley with 44 graduates; while Davao Oriental and Panabo City with 16 and eight graduates respectively.

“I am very thankful for the creation of SOA for the local farmers. Personally, I always make sure that the lessons I have learned will be practiced to increase my farm yield and productivity. Also, as a public servant myself, I extend service by sharing to my co-farmers the new technologies SOA have imparted during its broadcast. The farming guide given to us was helpful as our very reference in farming”, said Kagawad Jerry B. Arcenas, a SOA graduate during his testimony.

The event was on its 16th run since SOA’s airtime in Davao on 1994. SOA is a season-long radio program which provides a step-by-step guide for farmers from land preparation to harvesting. It also served as a tool to massively promote the recent farming technologies among radio listeners specially those who have not attended or not being reached by the various extension methodologies conducted. The SOA program is a regular activity of the Institute as a support strategy to the extension services conducted such as technical briefings, techno-demo, method-demo, farmers’ field school, among others.

The graduation ceremony was graced by the ATI Assistant Director for Operations Alberto B. Maningding, ATI-XI Center Director Richard C. Rubis, DA-XI Assistant Director Romy Palcon, SOA Farmcaster Mr. Francisco E. Endaya, Davao City Agriculturist Mr. Rocelio T. Tabay, RGMA radio correspondent Ms. Rose Dalandan and ATI-Knowledge Products Management Division Officer-in-Charge Antonieta J. Arceo.

In his acceptance and confirmation message, Assistant Director Alberto B. Maningding stressed that “the Filipino farmer is better than any farmer in Asia in terms of productivity. However, the reason why the Philippines is still importing rice on a yearly basis is that because of the country’s geography (irrigation issues) and most of the Filipino’s nasty habit of being wasteful. Also, our burgeoning population is one of the reasons why we have to import rice because what we produce is not enough for the growing population. I am making an appeal to all of you to help us explain and negate the notion that the Filipinos are only good in teaching and not in doing. That notion is not true since the feat of our local farmers to produce rice on per hectare basis is still unprecedented.”

The event was held last August 28, 2009 at the Felis Resort Complex in Davao City. (Vic Thor Palarca)