ATI Sets Focus on Extension Modernization, Reunites Institute’s Pillars During 36th Anniversary Celebration

Tue, 01/31/2023 - 16:49

DILIMAN, Quezon City – More than a celebration, the 36th Founding Anniversary of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) served as a commemoration of the Institute’s journey through the years and shared commitment towards modernization and reformation of the Philippine agriculture and fishery (AF) extension system.

ATI OIC-Director Remelyn Recoter underscores the need to be more aggressive in advancing new methods and initiatives in the provision of training programs and extension services to clients during the Institute’s 36th anniversary celebration. (photo by Clemente Gabion)

As part of the week-long celebration with series of activities, a program launch was conducted to unveil the new initiatives of the ATI together with some officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and other private sector partners and guests.

This was also made to reunite and recognize the former officials and personnel of the Institute, who served as pillars of the ATI through the years.

During the program, ATI OIC-Director Remelyn Recoter underscored the need to be more aggressive this year in advancing new methods and initiatives as part of the Institute’s task to innovate, transform, and empower all sub-sectors of the country’s AF extension system.

“As we set our anchors on modernization, let us take this opportunity to recalibrate and re-strategize our policies, processes, and priorities towards reformation,” she said in her message during the activity.

As a former personnel and Center Director in the ATI Regional Training Center in Western Visayas, Recoter recounted some of her learning through the years under different national directors. She thanked all of the former directors, division chiefs, and staff of the Institute for devoting a major part of their public service in the Institute and for laying "the groundwork in the journey towards excellence.”

Similarly, in a video message, Senator Cynthia Villar appreciated all the efforts of the ATI in terms of empowering and capacitating the AF sector.

“We are in the right steps in investing in human capital or the education of farmers and fishers,” she declared.

The senator assured that she is one with the ATI in institutionalizing training in agriculture and fisheries, citing various laws and policies she initiated and supported such as the Farm Tourism Development Act, Rice Tariffication Law, Amendment of the Organic Agriculture Act, and the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan, among others.

Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary for Fisheries Drusila Esther Bayate represented DA Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban and delivered his message during the event.

The DA Senior Undersecretary stressed, in his message read by Undersecretary Bayate, that the entire Department will be embarking this year on “a total effort to reverse the downward trend” of rural neglect.
Thus, according to him, DA looks at the ATI in formulating a national policy on extension to ensure greater political and financial commitment, promoting inclusivity in extension services, and preparing extension workers for a greater role in post-disaster situations.

Panganiban, likewise, reiterated the Institute’s task to continue developing and applying information and communication technology tools to facilitate training and information dissemination, as well as encouraging extension workers to ensure a more aggressive promotion of the principles of sustainable development in agriculture and fisheries. 

Among the new initiatives launched during the event are the Unified Extension Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation Information System and the rebranded Digital Farmers Program (DFP) in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications.

UnExSys digitalizes information management for better resource mapping, planning, monitoring, and evaluation of ATI’s programs, projects, and activities. Meanwhile, the rebranded DFP expands its services on capacity-building, which will now include provision of package of technology, linkage between farmers and digital agriculture services, and certification of Smart Learning Sites for Agriculture (LSA).

The soft launch of the Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Strategic Plan for 2023-2028, which will serve as the blueprint in reframing and transforming the agri-fishery sector, was also undertaken during the event.

Another highlight of the launch was the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ATI and the Agricultural Credit Policy Council in support to agribusiness startups of young Filipino farmers.

At the end of the event, an awarding of certificate of accreditation to a national Private Agri-Fishery Extension Service Provider (ESP) and the recognition to the former directors, assistant directors, division chiefs, and center directors of the ATI were conducted.

Other guests present during the activity were Atty. Francisco Gusi IV from the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar, DA Undersecretary Agnes Catherine Miranda, and the executive directors and heads of some bureaus and attached agencies of the Department.

An exhibit showcasing the products of various ATI-accredited LSAs and ESPs from different regions of the country and the opening ceremony for this year’s Sportsfest of the ATI Central Office were also held as part of the celebration last January 23-27 in the ATI Compound in this city.