El Nido is opening 25 slots for a 22-day Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) course on horticulture and vegetable production.
El Nido mayor Nieves Rosento told Palawan News the slots are available to farmers to capacitate them to supply the increasing demand for vegetables in the town.
She said the training is free and those who are living in far barangays can be accommodated inside the trainer’s farm.
“Magkakaroon tayo ng training para sa ating gulayan at wala pong babayaran. Kailangan pa natin ng mag-pro-produce ng maraming gulay at kailangan natin ng marami pang mag-gugulay,” she said.
The training will be held in the farm of organic vegetable producer Junie Fernandez, who is also a “Magsasaka Siyentista” awardee of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
El Nido municipal agriculturist Virginia Balderas said Fernandez is popular among the locals for his innovative organic vegetable farm, which uses a special mixture of plant leaves and other indigenous materials as fertilizers.
She said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed recently by Ayala Corporation and El Nido-based vegetable farmers for them to supply one ton of vegetables per week.
However, she said this has the possibility of increasing to four tons “very soon,” hence, the need for more vegetable farmers to produce the supply.
“Kaya napaka-importante ang pag-strenghten natin ng paggugulayan hanggang sa maabot na natin yang four tons. Sa ngayon hindi pa natin kaya,” she admitted.
Mayor Rosento said that their training for vegetable production is continuing to encourage more and more residents to venture into farming.
Last month, farmers in barangays Maligaya, Masagana, Buena Suerte and Corong-Corong were trained by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) for urban gardening.
She said that based on the data from their municipal agriculturist office, there are 19 tons of vegetable per month supplied to El Nido from Metro Manila and Luzon provinces because of the increasing demands.
She further said that it is sad to note that large volume of vegetable is being sourced outside when El Nido residents could actually earn extra income by planting the supply needed.
With the continuing training and campaign that the municipal government is initiating, Mayor Rosento is confident that the production of the local farmers will increase.
Vicente Binasahan Jr., agricultural program coordinating officer (APCO) for Palawan North of DA-regional field unit confirmed that a specific personnel from their agency was tasked to assist vegetable farmers in El Nido.
“Meron talagang naka -assign at nakatutok para dyan kasi ang ating mga farmers ay under contract, may quota silang kailangang maabot,” he said.