Farm owners might as well convert their farms into a farm school or learning site and get an extra income of P140,000 a month even by just training a batch of 25 scholars of TESDA or the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of the Department of Agriculture. The more they can train, the bigger their income.
This was revealed by Pat Andrew Barrientos, center director of ATI in Mimaropa region (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) during the on-going (Feb. 25-29, 2020) Regional Summit of Farm Schools and Learning Sites for Agriculture in Mimaropa held at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Brgy. Bacungan, Puerto Princesa.
Barrientos said that a farmer with at least one hectare for use as demo farm can put up his own learning site. Farmers can easily comply with requirements, said the Mimaropa ATI regional center director. All the farmer should do is submit a letter of intent, and attend trainings given by DA-ATI.
Barrientos cited Yamang Bukid Farm as an example of a farm that has become a Farm School now accredited by ATI and Tesda. YBF has been training a lot of Tesda and ATI scholars and is being paid millions of pesos. Scholars are trained on such topics as vermicomposting, organic farming, free-range chicken production, integrated farming and others. There are courses in livestock and aquaculture topics.
Of course, a successful farm like Yamang Bukid can train a lot of scholars because it has well established facilities and is now a very popular farm tourism destination, attracting as many as 10,000 visitors a week.
Barrientos, however, assured that owners of farm schools and learning sites should not worry about where and how to get student scholars because the government is also providing incentives to those who want to learn in these farm schools and learning sites. Tesda is giving allowances to student scholars in ATI-accredited farm schools, he said.
Barrientos enjoined more investors from the private sector to come up with learning sites and farm schools. The government has P700 million allocated yearly to fund the trainings of people, especially the young, who want to go into agriculture. Barrientos said that farming can be profitable and sustainable but those who go into it should be equipped with the right skills such as those provided by the farm schools.