Tubungan offers nat’l competency course on organic agriculture
ILOILO – Backed with a commendable track record in pushing for organic farming thrusts and advocacies for nearly a decade, the local government unit (LGU) of Tubungan became an accredited Farm School for Organic Agriculture by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) this year.
According to Municipal Agriculturist Marjorie Tacardon, the wide range of support and interventions from the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas made them one of the region’s leading purveyors of organic agriculture, which prompted the TESDA to tap them as collaborators.
“The TESDA Regional and Provincial Directors visited the Municipal Eco Park in Barangay Bacan, which houses the different projects the DA banner programs provided to support safe food production and sustainability. We did not apply to become a farm school, but they saw our potential to offer skills training to others given the complete facilities and sustainable projects that we have,” she said.
TESDA director general Secretary I sidro Lapeña handed over the registration certificate for the Organic Agriculture Production National Competency (NC) II to the LGU officials in February this year.
The Municipal Eco Park renamed Tubungan Skills Training Center, now serves as the venue for on- ground training of 50 initial TESDA scholars f rom Barangay Nagba Farmers Association and Barangay Igpaho Farmers Association in Tubungan.
Functioning as the vocational administrator, Tacardon said that TESDA granted P15,000 scholarship funds to each farmerenrollee to cover their expenses for personal protective equipment, training modules, and allowance for a month-long competency training on organic agriculture.
“We will not only cater to farmers. We also accept senior high school students or individuals who want to take the NC II on organic agriculture. As the main requirement, farmers need to be enrolled in the DA’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) and have a portion of land to be used for organic agriculture,” said Tacardon.
Former DA Western Visayas’ Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Dr. Joyce Wendam acts as the lead trainer alongside agricultural extension workers of Tubungan town who are already NC II holders.
Embedded in the program are the technical lectures and actual demonstrations on raising organic vegetables, poultry, livestock, and the production of biological control agents. At the end of the training season, scholars will undergo a threeday competency assessment to gauge the learning they obtained as TESDA scholars focused on organic agriculture.
“Being developed as a farm school, the LGU Tubungan sees this opportunity to encourage more local farmers to shift into chemical-free farming as we all hope to reduce the environmental damage brought by the excessive use of synthetic inputs and create a safer way to produce food for every household,” said Tacardon.
She thanked the former and present local government officials of Tubungan who supported and endorsed the resolutions and programs envisioned to promote fairness in food production, health, and environmental preserva t i on. S he a l s o acknowledged all government agencies, particularly DA, for the facilities, infrastructures, and package of inputs tooled to amplify organic farming in Tubungan.
“Following this milestone of being an accredited TESDA farm school, we also seek the approval of our third-party certification on organic agriculture within the year,” she added. (