SOME have classed the Filipino subsistence farmer as one of the most ignorant farmers in the world. He is intelligent and willing but no one has taken the time to help him with the advances in the science of agriculture. Our extension services have been found wanting.
In spite of being surrounded with some of the best agricultural schools and knowledge for the taking on the Internet he has had little access to these resources. He therefore cannot be considered a yeoman rather just a pawn in the agricultural production and marketing milieu in which he lives. He is far from the classification as middle class, namely, able to support his family in comfort and have access to educational and health services besides being protected from lawless elements.
Some efforts have been made but not massive enough to put him on a class with the Taiwan farmer or the Korean or Japanese farmer or even the Malaysian. There is a lot of talk about providing him with financing. But this must be accompanied with technology, transport and communication facilities, and especially with marketing services. It must be a whole integral package to have an impact on his income.
Rather than curse the darkness many people have tried to light a candle. One of these is the project of Milamdec Foundation with the assistance of the Spanish governments Cooperacion Espanola. The objective is to train 3,000 farmers in Northern Mindanao who in turn would echo their training to 5,000 other farmers over a two-year period.
Three training centers have been established one in Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro, another in Pangantucan, Bukidnon and the third in Cabad-baran, Agusan del Norte. So far, it is on target of having 750 participants by the end of June, its first semester of operation.
The aim is to increase the income of these farmer trainees by at least 10 percent over a year. …