ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE—The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) visited the five (5)-hectare Pamansalan Eco-Tech Highschool in Barangay Diwan, Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte on April 19, 2018.
DA Secretary Manny Piñol, on his March 22 visit for the 6th National Rice Technology Forum held in Barangay Olingan, Dipolog City, committed to help when its Principal, Ms. Loela A. Ben-eli, (who courageously stood up from a crowd) requested that the school be developed into a full- blown agricultural school.
She is eager to educate her students along with her high regard for agriculture. She says that, “Agriculture is where the money is. Otherwise, who should be producing our food?”
The machineries to be provided, under the SAAD 2018 funds, will be used by students in actual and applied (demonstration purposes) agricultural learning and practices. These are, as follows:
- One (1) unit hand tractor with implements
- Two (2) units brush cutter
- Two (2) units open source water pump (with complete accessories)
Ben-eli believes that promoting backyard vegetable planting through cultivating eggplant and tomato, an act which advocates organic farming, can change the youth’s mindset toward agriculture (backyard garden youth). She stressed that the assistance from DA—which she treats as a “blessing to their area”—will be very beneficial to them given the following:
- Currently, students only have limited tools for use in their agri[cultural] lot.
- A decline in the number of enrolling students, as well as an increase in the number of transferees for senior high with the current traditional agricultural ways that Pamansalan Eco-Tech Highschool can offer.
- The open source water pumps will be used so that water from a distant source could reach the school.
- Parents can assist in the backyard gardening of the students to turn it into economic enterprise venture/livelihood engagement.
- Basic vegetable production could mean source of livelihood for school (c/o Parent-Teachers’ Association/PTA) in order to source out funds for maintaining or operating the machineries.
SAAD, in its Regional Satellite Office (RSO) in Region IX, proposed the government Tech-Voc school to become an egg machine training ground—a seemingly perfect fit as the school is also practicing “green manuring” and vermicast.
Ben-eli proudly shares that their school does not only teach “something that is only in theory.”
Parent engagement could also increase they can also teach their children the modern way of layer chicken production.
This is also expected to become another form of livelihood for their family; and the eggs may also be used in feeding programs.
The said intervention is forecasted for implementation in years 2020-2021, according to the province’s SAAD Multi-Year Plan (MYP).
Writer: Ela Arciaga, SAAD NPMO PR & Communications Officer
Co-writer: Cecille La Plana, Area Coordinator III (DA-SAAD Zamboanga del Norte)