IT HAS been said that, “Education is no respecter of person. In education, age does not matter.” This is the essence why the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 6 (DA-RFO6) previously under the headship of Larry Nacionales, with the coordination of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist headed by Engr. Igmedio Tabianan, continue to conduct trainings not only for the agricultural extension workers (AEWs) in the field but even for lay leaders and farmers themselves.

I learned of the training when I met Mark Gamboa, 3rd batch of Pagkaon Scholars and presently the LFT (Local Farmer-Technicians) coordinator of DA-RFO 6. We were together last March during the evaluation of nominees at San Carlos City, for the “Pasidungog Sa Mangunguma” at the Panaad Festival.

What caught my interest was the fact that he was conducting the TOT (Training of Trainers) for nine (AEWs) and 20 farmers who will then be the LFTs in their own localities.

This time, they are mostly from the CHICKS (Candoni, Hinobaan, Isabela, Cauayan, Kabankalan, Sipalay) area. Of course he is not alone. His teammates are Carlito Indencia—OPA senior agriculturist, vegetable specialist/TOT trainer and Arsenio de la Torre—Agriculturist/TOT trainer also of the same office.

I determined to visit their site at the right time and this is it. Per my interview with Mark the training is a season-long entitled: Training on Trainers for Vegetables. This was my interest. I don’t know, but I have always a soft heart for vegetables as a subject matter. Maybe it is because I grew up with vegetable as part of the main course always of our diet-in different forms and variety.

The season–long training started on February 26 and will end on June 26. When I visited the site—Forest Park at Taculing, Bacolod City— I saw some harvestable eggplant already, fruit-bearing squash, bell pepper, ampalaya, okra and a little water melon. The training is being funded by the DA-Region 6. Before graduation, there will be a field day in June and I was invited also to witness.

What is the highlight of this training? Farmers are vegetable growers themselves. However, they have corrected their wrong practices through the training. Then they have to conduct it in their respective locality for the “participatory techno demo.”

When asked what particular technology the training is following, Mark said they are applying the INM (Integrated Nutrient Management) for the fertilizer application. All vegetables were planted as seedlings. Drenching is done for the fertilizer, then sprinkling the plants with water to prevent burning. Flooding of the whole field follows. They follow a scheduled time for each fertilizer application.

On the pest management aspect, the training uses trichoderma sourced from the Regional Soils Laboratory. They apply this twice a week.

Basically, the trainees were taught how to get soil samples for soil analysis, the basic of all farming system. Then they also learned the AESA (agro-economic system analysis).

I am looking forward to go further in the actual field of these farmers someday! I am always excited to see farmers apply what they learn from the AEWs, because as the saying goes, “You have not learned, if you have not applied.”