TRAINING programs for farmers under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) will continue after being redesigned to minimize health risks amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, RCEF-Rice Extension Services Program Technical Working Group chair Rosana P. Mula said that modifications in the programs’ learning approach and delivery will be implemented to optimize learning.
Ms. Mula said the Farmers’ Field School on the production of high-quality inbred rice and seeds and farm mechanization was redesigned to reduce the number of contact days while ensuring that rice production principles and practices are taught.
“The field school is complemented with radio-based education, technical briefings during seed distribution, and information materials in various formats,” Ms. Mula said.
Within six years, some 2 million farmers are projected to be taught about modern rice production using different learning platforms, while around 300,000 farmers are expected to enroll as scholars of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the season-long Farmers’ Field School.
Meanwhile, RCEF-Rice Extension Services Program Technical Working Group vice-chair Karen Eloisa T. Barroga said the Rice Specialists Training Course will soon pilot-test a combination of online lectures and hands-on, face-to-face learning.
Ms. Barroga said the training course is geared towards helping farmers by developing technical skills such as field problems diagnostic skills.
“However, given our situation, we will now require trainees to establish techno demos right at their areas and come to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) for only a week for their field practicum,” Ms. Barroga added.
In addition, trainers are scheduled to undergo trainer courses while some 200 to 300 graduates of previous rice production season-long training courses will be given an online refresher course made by PhilRice and the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). The online refresher course will be accessible through ATI’s eLearning site.
The RCEF-Rice Extension Services Program is a part of Republic Act. No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law which aims to boost the capacity of rice farmers. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave