MANILA, Philippines – As part of the Php10 billion budget of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF), Php1 billion is allocated to train farmers for modernized farming.

Senator Cynthia Villar announced that 21 schools nationwide have been chosen to provide farmer-trainors with free courses on various areas, such as modern rice farming techniques, farm mechanization, rice crop production, inbred seed production, and farm machinery usage and maintenance.

The billion-peso budget will be divided accordingly: Php700 million will go to Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and will be distributed to the schools providing the courses. The remaining Php300 million will be equally distributed to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

Training modules and trainor classes will be provided by PhilMech and PhilRice. ATI and TESDA will endorse the modules to the farmers through TESDA-accredited Farm Schools and Farmers Field Schools. The expected timeframe for the 21 schools to teach farmers is within two to three months.

The program includes the following schools:

Region I: Mariano Marcos State University (Batac City, Ilocos Norte)
Region II: PhilRice (San Mateo, Isabela)
Region III: PhilMech and PhilRice (Muñoz City, Nueva Ecija); and Villar Sipag Farm School (San Jose del Monte, Bulacan)
Region IV-A: University of the Philippines (Los Baños, Laguna) and Villar Sipag Farm School (Bacoor, Cavite)
Region IV-B: PhilRice (Santa Cruz, Mindoro Oriental)
Region V: PhilMech (Pili, Camarines Sur) and PhilRice (Ligao, Albay)
Visayas: Villar Sipag Farm School (San Miguel, Iloilo) and PhilRice (Murcia, Negros Occidental)
Eastern Visayas: PhilMech (Abuyog, Leyte) and University of Eastern Philippines (Catarman, Northern Samar)
Mindanao: Western Mindanao State University (Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur)
Region X: Central Mindanao University (Bukidnon) and PhilMech (Cagayan de Oro City)
Region XI: PhilMech (Davao City) and Villar Sipag Farm School (Davao City)
SOCCSKSARGEN: PhilMech (Midsayap, North Cotabato)
Region XIII: PhilRice (RT Romualdez, Agusan del Norte)

The list will be updated to include ATI schools. (HGBH/LMO)

Photo from Philippine Rice Research Institute website

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