By virtue of Executive Order No. 116, series 1987, the ATI was created to be responsible for the training of all agricultural extension workers and other AF clients; ensure that trainings address the real needs of the agricultural sector, and that research results are then communicated to the farmers through the appropriate training and extension activities.
Agricultural Fisheries Modernization Act (RA 8435) of 1997 stipulated that extension covers four (4) major services: trainings, farm and business advisory services, technology demonstration, and information, education, and communication (IEC) support services (Section 87). The ATI was assigned to:
- Formulate a national merit system governing all extension personnel, regardless of the source of funding, to promote professionalism and achieve excellence and productivity in the provision of the government extension services (Section 88);
- Formulate and strengthen the National Extension System for Agriculture and Fisheries composed of three (3) subsystems: national government, local government, and the private sector subsystem (Section 89);
- Encourage the participation of organized farmer groups in training and other complementary extension services, in which appropriate funding for such initiatives may be provided (Section 91);
- Assist in the LGU’s extension system, along with other bureaus and attached agencies of the DA as well as the state universities and colleges (SUCs), by improving their effectiveness and efficiency through capability-building and complementary extension activities such as technical assistance; training of LGU extension personnel; improvement of physical facilities; extension cum research; and information support services (Section 92);
- Proposed for the allocation of multi-year budget that shall be treated as grants to the local government units (Section 93);
- Formulate guidelines in evaluating extension activities and institutions, which shall involve an independent and interdisciplinary team of collegial reviewers and evaluators (Section 94); and
- Develop an integrated multimedia support for national and LGU extension programs, in coordination with the public and private universities and colleges; assist the LGUs in the computerization of communication support services to clients and linkages to the NIN (Section 95).
- Lead in the formulation of the National AFE Agenda and Budget;
- Prepare an integrated plan for publicly-funded training programs in agriculture and fisheries;
- Formulate and issue guidelines in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating AFE programs; and
- In the coordination with SUCs, assist the LGUs’ extension system by improving their effectiveness and efficiency through capability building and complementary extension activities such as technical assistance, training of personnel, improvement of physical facilities, extension cum research, and information support services.
The ATI’s Rationalization Plan also states the following strategic and functional shifts:
- To be the lead coordinating agency for IEC in the DA to orchestrate all IEC programs and activities across DA agencies, bureaus, corporations, and regional field offices;
- From a private goods-oriented public extension service delivery system to a public good goods-focus of extension service delivery, the ATI will lead and coordinate with the DA Central Office (CO) the delivery of national public goods while the RFOs will produce and deliver regional public goods; and
- From duplicative functions to clearly defined roles of DA extension providers, to give way to a more effective complementation of activities.
- Strengthening of its core competencies on: Extension policy development and standards-setting; Strategic extension systems planning, monitoring, and evaluation; and Formulation of an extension agenda and programs for the national and regional levels.
- Professionalization of Extension Workers (EWs) through the: Adoption of a merit and promotions system, as well as an incentives mechanism, based on an extension service performance framework.