AMAS, Kidapawan City (Mar 12) – After successfully completing the 11-month Young Filipino Farmers Training Program in Japan (YFFTPJ), Ronald Ariate of Brgy. New Israel, Makilala and Joey Belonio of Barangay Tambac, Tulunan promise to put into practice all the learning they acquired and to do re-echo seminars to their peers.
Ariate and Belonio both members of the Head, Heart, Hands and Health or 4H Club of Cotabato, arrived at the province this month equipped with new farming knowledge from their Japanese host farmers and foster families.
They left the province last April 2015 as part of the 17-man delegation to train in Japan under the said program which is a collaboration of the Dept. of Agriculture’s (DA) Agricultural Training Institute and the Japan Agricultural Exchange Council (JAEC) and Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (JMAFF).
Back in Japan, the two said the training program has helped them a lot especially in acquiring techniques or systems in growing crops, harvesting and marketing of products.
Ariate said he is very fortunate to become part of the YFFTPJ and gained additional knowledge in farming. “I was exposed to orchard farming where I learned techniques on raising fruits for food consumption and commercial production”, Ariate mentioned during the interview of the Aksyon Serbisyong Totoo radio program of the Provincial Government of Cotabato.
He also said that aside from the advance farming technology, the Japanese farmers also engage in effective marketing strategy in order to sell their products well. Knowing that his village (Brgy New Israel) which is the site of the longest zip line in Southeast Asia is now becoming a major tourist attraction, he can help in boosting or promoting local fruits to tourists.
For his part, Belonio said he and Ariate had undergone series of interviews, examinations and rigid selection process was very thankful to have passed all of these. He said he was assigned in rice farming in Japan and quickly discovered new techniques. “I have adopted some techniques on how to plant rice more efficiently and how to manage rice fields especially during cropping and harvesting seasons”, Belonio said.
Both Ariate and Belonio said their experiences in Japan are life-changing and have open new doors to improve their own small farm lots. Although some of the fruits and vegetables raised in Japan are not so much feasible in Cotabato, the system and techniques imparted to them by Japanese farmers provided a positive impact to them as young farmers.
They also begun communicating with their coordinators and fellow members 4H Club of Cotabato for re-echo sessions, so as to be able to impart the skills and techniques they acquired. Learn
Only 17 young farmers from different provinces qualified at the YFFTPJ last year. Ariate and Belonio were the only qualifiers from Region 12 or SOCCSKSARGEN.
Judy Gomez, 4H Club Provincial Coordinator said it is important to send qualified young farmers from the province to adopt the modern or latest farming technology in advance countries such as Japan.
“It is an advantage for our young farmers from Cotabato to undergo training in Japan where they can learn and adopt modern farming technology”, said Gomez adding that being a highly agricultural province, Cotabato must sustain strategies and initiatives to improve farming and agriculture.
During their courtesy visit to Gov Emmylou “Lala” J. Taliño-Mendoza, Ariate and Belonio thanked the governor for her all out support to the youth which includes the young farmers.
“Without the assistance of the provincial government we cannot make it to Japan. Our gratitude to you Gov Lala for your compassion to serve your constituents” the two said.
For her part, Gov Taliño-Mendoza said her administration continues to support the members of the 4H Club of Cotabato especially those that qualify for study grants in abroad such as the YFFTPJ.
“This is to show our sincerity in developing our young farmers and to make them strong partners in economic development of the province”, the governor said.
Now that the two have successfully completed their training, the governor has high hopes that they can pass on to their fellow young farmers the learning they got from Japan as well as to their immediate communities. (JIMMY STA. CRUZ with reports from Randy I. Patches-PGO Media Center/Photo credits Cot OPAG)