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PIA Press Release
2008/02/12

DA, DOST launch e-learning project

Manila (12 February) -- The Departments of Agriculture (DA) and of Science and Technology (DOST) are teaming up with various groups to better educate agricultural extension workers plus farmers and fisherfolk on new farm-related technologies via the Internet.

These two departments have launched with a group of state universities and colleges (SUCs) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) the electronic-Learning Program for Agriculture and Fisheries to modernize agricultural extension work by harnessing the digital revolution to bring new information and technologies closer to rural communities.

Yap said that the Department, through its Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), along with the DOST and their partner-agencies are undertaking this online program "in step with the DA's electronic-Extension Program that aims to modernize agricultural extension by bringing information closer and faster to the extension workers, farmers and fisherfolk in the country."

The program, Yap said, is one of the components of the Comprehensive Agriculture and Fisheries Integrated Management System (CAFIAMS), an ambitious program being undertaken by the Department that will allow small farmers, fisherfolk and agribusiness entrepreneurs cruise the information superhighway by tapping into a DA-run electronic database system for information on new technologies to help them boost yields, optimize profits and eventually engage in online trading or marketing of their produce.

He added that the ATI has inaugurated the Agriculture and Fisheries Knowledge Center (AFKC) in the hope of empowering "our extension workers so that Filipino farmers, fishers, rural women and youth in the countryside can acquire the knowledge they need anytime from anyplace and at their own pace."

The partner-agencies of the ATI in these undertakings are the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the DOST's Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OPAPA), SUCs and Univet Laboratories.

"ATI is spearheading the development of a comprehensive program that will utilize e-Extension in the delivery of DA's agriculture and fisheries services," Yap said. "The ICT approach to extension hopes to complement the traditional technology sharing approaches currently adopted in agricultural training and extension."

He explained that the e-Extension Program aims to institutionalize the e-Extension system of the agriculture and fisheries sector; integrate and harmonize agriculture and fisheries e-Extension initiatives of various institutions; and empower the stakeholders in agriculture and fisheries on the value of e-Extension services.

ATI Director Asterio Saliot said the Institute is undertaking this e-Learning for Agriculture and Fisheries with the cooperation not only of other government agencies but of SUCs as well.

Saliot said that the program offers certificate courses on agricultural technologies of various commodities especially designed for agricultural extension workers, farmers and fishers in the Philippines. To date, it has around 220 registered enrollees for the five on-line training courses on banana, corn, citrus, goat and durian. More courses will be offered within the year.

These courses are being developed with the DOST-PCARRD, BAR, SUCs, the ATI Regional Training Centers and DA's Ginintuang Masaganang Ani (GMA)-High Value Commercial Crops Program.

Digital learning resources like online technology kits on Corn, Coffee, Citrus, broiler, Meat Processing, as well as agri-videos or video clips on various technologies will also be offered under this ATI-led program, said Saliot.

These e-Learning courses will be delivered via online with the website address at www.e-extension.gov.ph and will make use of blended approaches that integrate field activities and face interaction between learners and experts, he said.

Learners will also have the opportunity to interact through online discussion, he added, and will be given access to a wide array of digital learning resources to enhance their knowledge on the e-learning courses as well as other relevant agricultural information helpful to farmers in making the right decisions in their farms. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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