The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority-Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trade (TESDA-PPSAT) will soon offer a competency training program for Agricultural Crops Production NC II after the launching of its agricultural farm inside the campus.
Rebecca Edaño, assistant professor II and head of the Unified Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS), said that the implementation of their campus’ agri-farm is in compliance with TESDA director general Isidro Lapeña’s order to establish farm schools in TESDA-administered schools in the Philippines.
“Nire-require lahat ng TESDA schools or TESDA institutions to have agriculture-related courses. Actually, hindi lang ‘yan. Meron din siya sa construction at driving kasi parang ‘yon ang priority ng ating government,” she said.
Edaño said that the school was hesitant at first to try agricultural farming due to the struggle of having water in Barangay Sta. Monica where it is located.
She stated that while the school was starting, they sought help from the Department of Agricultural (DA) through the Palawan Research Extension Service (PRES) for assistance.
She said that the agency helped them to classify appropriate land areas for planting and suitable plants to put on the farm.
The school stated that the City Agriculture Office (CAO) has provided tools and equipment for land tilling.
The DA, on the other hand, provided the manpower to clear and till the 2,500 square meters of land.
Around the month of November, plots have been laid out and the school acquired 100 sacks of poultry and chicken manure for the soil covered with plastic mulch.
Edaño said that their farm has less than 90 plots prepared for the planting.
“May mga tumutubo na at may mga plot kasi kami na wala pa tanim. Tatamnan pa lang, meron kasi kaming seeds na dapat punla muna at meron din na pwede na itanim agad,” she said.
Agri-farm project to help the future of Philippine agriculture
Edaño said that the school chose agricultural crop production as they see that it is more appropriate with their location.
“Sa agri crops kasi puwede ka mag-rice, cacao pero ang sa amin, pinaka-initial namin ay gulay na muna. Tapos i-o-offer na namin ang agri crop production (course) next year,” she said.
She said that they left enough space as a demonstration area of their students for the upcoming program.
The school is also planning to hire another trainer in line with the new program.
She said that they are planning to have a ceremonial harvest once the vegetables have grown enough for commercial consumption.
“Siyempre ngayon more on healthy na tayo. Sa mga nabibili natin minsan sa palengke, hindi pa tayo sigurado. Naging aware na rin tayo na kapag hindi tayo ang nagtanim, hindi rin tayo sigurado organic ‘yan,” she said.
She said that through this program, students will learn to give importance to the gift of nature.
“So kung matututo sila kasi una kapag nakita nila ang need na kailangan natin ng biodegradable waste para sa ating farm, sa ating mga panananim ay matututo na rin sila maghiwalay ng basura,” she said.
“Tayo sa Palawan, ang lapad ng lupa natin pero we don’t go for agriculture. Sayang ang lupa. At the same time, gagamitin natin ang lupa na iniingatan natin. Nong una hesitant pa kami pero ngayon nakikita na namin na maganda pala sa pakiramdam,” Edaño added
Planting is also a form exercise that will also benefit an individual’s body, she said.
Opening of new program
She said that by January 2020, the school will already offer the program that will run for three months.
Edaño said that the order was given in May 2019, however, they just started it in the months of June and July due to time exerted to look for a trainer that will be available for the program.
“Kung sino man ang gusto mag-enroll, nandito na sa city ang farm, wala na sa malalayong lugar ang ating agricultural crop production. This is only 336 hours, madali lang ito matapos. We will assure you na mabibigay namin ang nasa standard ng TESDA na training,” she said.
She said that they might open scholarship grants also by January 2020.
The school began the construction of the rainwater shelter and plant nursery stations as part of the farm facilities.
The land area for the agricultural farm with around 70 plots will be filled with seedlings or sprouts of squash, beans, okra, eggplant and other types of vegetables.