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282 East Visayas farmers complete organic farming course

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 6, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The 282 farmers from all over East Visayas who graduated from the University on the Air classes on Organic Farming, are now the Department of Agriculture’s strong partners in weaving a viable organic production system.

This was pronounced by DA Region 8 Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Gerundio during the Culminating Exercises of the UOA on November 28 at the Leyte Provincial Gym.

The 282 farmers coming from Leyte, Samar and Eastern Samar provinces completed the season-long course and received their diploma from the DA-8 and the Leyte Provincial Agriculture Office. It was observed that there were more women farmers who participated in the University on the Air with 189 out of the 282 graduates.

Said farmers spent almost five months to finish the course by listening to the radio for 30 minutes from Monday to Saturday. By doing so, they kept themselves abreast of the series of topics discussed by experts on organic agriculture from national, regional and provincial offices, Mr. Francis Rosaroso, chief of DA 8 Information Division, said.

Similar to the classroom teaching method, the students, after listening and taking note of the lectures, answered short quizzes and major examinations administered by the radio program hosts.

“We are doing so to determine their level of reception on the concepts and principles gained from the discussions,” Rosaroso said.

The municipal/city agriculturists and agricultural technologists served as supervisors of the farmer-students. To complement the discussions, the students were required to join the educational tour to identified progressive farms in the region.

All done, a panel of evaluators selected the top 10 students that were given special awards and prizes sponsored by DA-8 and the Provincial Local Government Unit of Leyte through Governor Ma. Mimietta S. Bagulaya.

Mr. Ariel R. Rupa, a 44-year old farmer from Palo, Leyte was awarded as Valedictorian; Farmer Jonathan Alegro of Babatngon was Salutatorian; Farmer Pedro Banilbo of Tanauan was First Honorable Mention; Danilo S. Daylo of Palo was 2nd Honorable Mention while Danilo Daria of Tunga was 3rd Honorable Mention. All the medalists are from the Province of Leyte.

Meanwhile, Ms. Faye Macapanas, info officer, said that the said occasion gathered not only farmers but also officials and technical persons from various agencies supporting the organic agriculture program such as Ms Joie Faustino from DA-OSEC, Dr. Rodolfo Estigoy from PhilMech, Dir. Paulino T. Cabahit from ATI-8, Mr. Ronelo Pisquera from PCIC-8 and several others.

Moreover, Ms Emalyn Legal, a member of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB) and the Mindanao Small Farmers’ Representative revealed that the present administration targets to convert at least 50% of the country’s total agricultural area into organic farms.

Coinciding with the event was the awarding of this year’s Regional Gawad Saka farmer-achievers.