With the extension of the enhanced community quarantine, now is as good a time as any to expand one’s knowledge and try other ventures such as farming. Through the “e-Learning for Agriculture and Fisheries” of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), this is possible for thousands of Filipinos without having to leave their own homes.
Launched in 2007, e-Learning is a component of the e-Extension Program of ATI, the training and extension arm of the Department of Agriculture (DA). The program offers alternative means of gaining new knowledge about farming for free.
With the need to increase food production efforts amid the fight against a global pandemic, e-Learning is seen to boost the DA’s nationwide promotion of urban agriculture and community farming under the “Plant, Plant, Plant” Program.
Over 92,700 Filipinos are currently registered in the e-Learning site—a huge increase from the 87,200 enrollees recorded before the quarantine measures were in place. At present, there are more than 60 online courses offered for free, which cover crops, livestock and poultry, fisheries, social technology, and sustainable agriculture.
“The main reason I tried e-Learning is that I wanted to learn more about agriculture as well as develop some skills necessary for my professional development as an agriculturist and a teacher,” Ronel De Guzman, an instructor at President Ramon Magsaysay State University in Zambales shared. He added how much he is enjoying learning through this platform and thinks that this is a more productive use of his internet connection and electronic gadgets.
Some of the e-Learning courses are on basic urban gardening, Good Agricultural Practices for vegetable production, and production technologies for straw mushroom, tomato, banana, citrus fruits, and yam, among others. Basic beekeeping, goat-raising, and quail production courses are also available through the portal.
Under the social technology category, courses on product costing, marketing, food safety, and even effective human communication and community organizing may be accessed. Sustainable agriculture practices such as the production of organic fertilizers, vermicompost, and mokusaku (wood vinegar) are also open to interested users.
Depending on one’s pace, most of the courses can be completed within a day. After which, the e-Learner receives an electronic certificate that can be downloaded from the site.
“The e-Learning courses being offered are really wonderful. [I like that] these are short but concise courses depending on the topic. Also, if you want, you get to apply the planting techniques right away, whether you have a small or big space, and especially now that almost everyone is staying home,” 56- year-old Alberto Ang from Caloocan City said.
Ang has finished around five courses so far, most of which are on sustainable agriculture technologies. He proudly shares his love for farming in his backyard by recycling plastic containers to grow vegetables like okra, tomato, and even chili pepper. Interested individuals may visit www.e-extension.gov.ph/elearning to create an account and enroll in any chosen course.
For questions and concerns, chat with the ATI e-Learning team through facebook.com/atiinteractive or text the Farmers’ Contact Center at 0920-9462474. (Erika Vizcarra, ATI- Information Services Division)