THE Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing to further capacitate agricultural extension workers (AEWs) in Negros as a measure to boost the delivery of government services to the farmers.
DA-Negros Island Region (NIR) Regional Director Joyce Wendam, who spoke at the AEW Congress at Bacolod Pavilion Hotel yesterday, said AEWs are the agency’s partners and extension providers to the local government units.
They augment the agricultural workforce given that the regional line agency has limited personnel, she said.
“AEWs are the ones imparting the information in their respective LGUs (local government units) thus, they have to be capable, knowledgeable and competent in providing the right advises and recommendations to the farmers,” Wendam said, adding that “by capacitating these extension workers, we can ensure efficient delivery of various services to the ground level.”
The one-day event gathered about 150 AEWs in the region, mostly in Negros Occidental.
It mainly included capability building activities like lectures on rice hybridization program, climate change, Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) loans, and retooling and reorientation on insurance program policies of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp.
There were also sessions on continuing professional development for AEWs, regulatory laws, and other DA programs like national color coded agriculture guide map.
DA-NIR records showed that there are currently about 300 AEWs in Negros. Of which, about 200 are in Negros Occidental with an average of five per city and municipality.
Wendam said the agency continues to challenge AEWs in Negros to equip themselves with knowledge especially on updated technologies for sustainable sharing of “right” information and skills to the farmers.
“Through this, we can improve the production of the farmers, increase their income, and average yield per hectare,” she added.