After the nationwide completion of the first part of the (online) training course on the operation and maintenance of rice machinery for the farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Mechanization Program (RCEF-MP), PHilMech continues with the second phase—the hands-on exercises—despite the pandemic.

The Technology Management and Training Division (TMTD) has conducted 9 simultaneous batches of hands-on exercises from October 27 to November 4, covering all the six clustered regions who are the recipients of the program.

A total of 184 participants who belong to qualified FCAs from Regions I, II, III, and XI has finished the hands-on exercises which include the operation of the four-wheel drive tractor, manual seed sowing machine, riding-type transplanter, walk-behind transplanter, precision rice seeder and rice combine harvester.

These activities were done in full observance of safety protocols like wearing of facemasks, observing physical distance, monitoring of temperature and the like, as precautionary measures against COVID-19.

As the pandemic hit the country in March of this year, the PHilMech training group faced a huge challenge on how to continue the work of training the farmers in the operation of agricultural machinery. The TMTD, headed by Ms. Helen R. Calica, developed a strategy using blended learning modality of online and limited face-to-face activities to proceed with the targets.

The team aims to complete the second part of the training across all those FCAs who have completed the online training course. These FCAs are recipients of machinery grants under the 2019 budget.

Article by Jett Molech G. Subaba