e-Extension Program for Agriculture and Fisheries

The electronic delivery of extension service is undertaken through a network of institutions that provide a more efficient alternative to a traditional extension system for agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources sectors. It maximizes the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to attain a modernized agriculture and fisheries sector. It focuses on creating an electronic and interactive bridge where farmers, fishers, and other stakeholders meet and transact to enhance productivity, profitability, and global competitiveness.

The electronic extension (e-Extension) program for agriculture and fisheries started in the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) by virtue of Department Order No. 3, series of 2007. The ATI was designated to lead in the provision of e-Extension services in collaboration with the various agencies, bureaus, and organization units of the Department of Agriculture (DA). This is to integrate and harmonize ICT-based extension delivery system for agriculture and fisheries.

4 Events to Mainstream e-Extension in the Philippines
  1. Launch of the e-Extension Program. This was launched on December 11, 2007 with the introduction of the e-Extension Portal and inauguration of the first component: e-Learning. The e-Learning component initially offered five online courses on various commodities namely goat, durian, citrus, corn, and banana.
  2. Launch of ATIiNteractive. This is the web portal for Philippine extension and agricultural training. The ATIiNteractive consists of the official website of the ATI, sections of the e-Extension Portal, ATI intranet, ATI webmail, and the websites of all the ATI Centers spread across the country. The ATIiNteractive was launched in February 2008.
  3. Launch of the Text Support. This service was launched in February 2009. This was the initial service of the Farmers' Contact Center. The text support service functions as an asynchronous helpdesk for farmers, fishers, and agricultural extension workers (AEWs) by using their cellular phones. Queries are sent in through text, and a human agent texts back the reply supported by a knowledge-base and a network of experts.
  4. Launch of the Farmers’ Contact Center (FCC). The voice and synchronous component of the FCC was launched on November 28, 2009 under the leadership of then Secretary Arthur Yap at Bohol Tropics, Tagbilaran City. Through the FCC, farmers and fishers can inquire on agri-related concerns via voice (call), short messaging service (SMS or text) as well as emails and other online communication platforms like instant messaging and the different forums.

e-Extension Programs and Services
  • e-Learning - a form of distance education that includes online certificate courses and digital learning resources such as technology kits, video clips, and mini-tutorials available at the e-Learning Portal.
  • Farmers’ Contact Center (FCC) - delivers farm and business advisory services to the farmers, fishers, extension workers, and partners, through voice calls, texts, e-mails or even online chat and discussion forum. 
  • Rice Crop Manager (RCM) - a computer- and mobile phone-based tool providing rice farmers with a personalized crop and nutrient management guideline. The RCM uses results of research and existing knowledge to provide farmers in irrigated and rain-fed lowlands with ‘precise’ field- and farmer-specific recommendations.
  • School-on-the-Air Program (SOA) - through its network of training centers, the ATI offers distance learning programs through radio on the complete package of agriculture and fisheries technology on different production technologies for farmers.