Rice farming / Photo courtesy of Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol via Facebook / Manila Bulletin

Manila Bulletin 
By Marie Tonette Grace Marticio

SOGOD, Southern Leyte – Eastern Visayas has the most number of learning sites and schools for practical agriculture.

This was revealed by Director Vilma Patindol of the Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center 8 (ATI RTC 8) during gathering of organic farming practitioners and stakeholders in the recently held 4th Regional Organic Agriculture Congress in this town.

Farm schools serve as venue for demonstration and promotion of sustainable agriculture through organic farming.

Canaan Hill Farms and Honey Garden from Caibiran, Biliran, which won as the ‘Outstanding Organic Farming Family category’ is now on their 7th batch in training farmers under the iniative of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to introduce organic farming skills.

They are currently training members of Mamanwa tribe who live in an upland community found at the foot of Mount Panamao in Barangay Caucab, Almeria, Biliran.

It is the first accredited farm school of TESDA in Eastern Visayas and it’s only farm school in Biliran province owned by the Espinazo family.

“Being a farm school of TESDA in Biliran province is a great help to the farm and to our fellow farmers who want to know the organic way of farming,” shared Jeffrey Espinazo, manager of Canaan Hill Farms and Honey Garden.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the committee on agriculture and food, and environment and natural resources earlier stressed the importance of supporting agriculture to solve poverty in rural lands.

“We have discovered that there are enough lands, ang problema is the technology and mechanization doon tayo hindi magaling that is why we are building farm schools,” she told reporters.

She added that they have convinced 1,955 farms to become farm schools to be accredited with TESDA so they would pay for their students’ tuition.

“After all it is a business, it is not just being a farmer, it is agribusiness so we have to upgrade our farming,” Villar noted.

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