Government eyes rollout of 3-year agriculture degree program

The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) said it is mulling over the introduction of a three-year agriculture degree program to entice the Filipino youth to go into farming.

The agency bared this plan in a press conference to kick off the 12th National Biotechnology Week held in Quezon City on Monday.

“There’s a Ched proposal aiming to encourage the sons of farmers to venture into farming. We will have a degree for these farmers’ children, a three-year degree program,” Ched chief of Research Management Division Custer Deocaris told reporters.

Under the proposal, Deocaris said students will be taught farming-related theories in their freshman year. Students will spend their sophomore year in the field as part of their on-the-job (OJT) training. In their third and last year, students will devote their time on research or thesis focusing on agricultural entrepreneurship.

“At the end of the program, the face of our farmers will change. We are talking now with farmers with aspirations not just those who till the land, but farmers who also own the land,”
Deocaris said.

He said the Ched is now in talks with an Israel-based farm where the students under the said degree program could hold their OJT.

Another way to encourage the youth to go into farming, Deocaris said, is by increasing the number of techno-demo farms in the country as part of local universities’ extension programs.

He noted that the Ched provides a grant amounting to P125 million to identified national universities and colleges of agriculture and fisheries under the National Agriculture and Fisheries Education System.

Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) OIC Vivencio R. Mamaril said his office is already in talks with the Department of Education (DepEd) to reinstate gardening classes in the elementary level.

“This is part of the 10-point agenda of [Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol],” Mamaril said. “Currently, we [BPI and DepEd] are in the programming stage.”

He said gardening classes in the elementary level could be reinstated in academic year 2017-2018, while the training of teachers could start early next year.

With the return of the gardening classes in the elementary level, Mamaril said the government hopes to impart not only practical planting techniques but also scientific knowledge.

“We don’t only want the children to learn to count their harvest but we hope to incorporate biological and scientific knowledge, such as how to grow crops and why do they wither or die,” Mamaril said.

-Written by Jasper Y. Arcalas in BusinessMirror.  See article link here.

Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas is a graduate of the UST Journalism School (Batch 2016). He currently covers agribusiness for the BusinessMirror. He joined the news outfit in August 2016.

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