Secretary Isidro Lapeña is urging farmers to avail of the free training in two courses added this year by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) tailored for the Rice Extension Services Program (RESP).
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday, Lapeña said TESDA has been offering six courses under the RESP, while Pest and Nutrient Management, as well as Digital Agricultural Course, will soon be offered.
“Based on the baseline survey (TESDA) conducted in 2020, these are the areas that contribute to the farmers’ yield and income. However, their knowledge about pest and nutrient management and other innovative knowledge on agriculture is still low,” he said.
Lapeña said TESDA had approved 52,421 scholarship slots for the RESP courses last year. These courses were Farmers Field School (FFS) on Production of High-Quality Inbred Rice and Seed Certification, and Farm Mechanization; Agro-Entrepreneurship NC (national certificate) II, III, IV; Rice Machinery Operations NC II; Drying and Milling Plant Servicing NC III.
Offering the additional courses, he said, is TESDA’s response to the baseline survey, and another way to help the rice farmers.
For 2022, TESDA is eyeing to open 50,000 scholarship slots for courses under the RESP.
“I encourage all our rice farmers listed under the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture to avail of various free courses we are offering under the RESP. Not only these free training will upskill them, but more importantly, when they apply their acquired skills in their farming method, it will help increase their harvest and income,” Lapeña said.
On Monday, TESDA reported that over 38,000 rice farmers and their dependents have finished the courses under the RESP.
TESDA’s record showed that 26,898 have completed training on FFS on Production of High-Quality Inbred Rice and Seed Certification, and Farm Mechanization; 4,008 on Service Motorcycle/ Small Engine System; 3,628 on Rice Machinery Operations NC II; 511 on Agro-Entrepreneurship NC II; and 24 on Drying and Milling Plant Servicing NC III.
Each scholar was entitled to a PHP160 daily allowance, and free training and assessment, including entrepreneurship training and insurance, according to TESDA.
Under the RESP cluster, TESDA is tasked to “teach skills on rice crop production, modern rice farming techniques, seed production, farm mechanization, and knowledge/ technology transfer through farm schools nationwide.” (PNA)