The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday welcomed the offer of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to train farmers under its rice extension services program (RESP), including digital agriculture, with a P160 daily allowance each to improve their lives, help provide food sufficiency, and reduce the incidence of poverty.
CHR executive director Jacqueline Ann de Guia lauded TESDA for making the agricultural sector “viable, efficient and globally competitive” as mandated by Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Liberalization Act.
DE Guia emphasized that investment in the productive capacity of agriculture does not only reap economic benefits in the long run, but provision of such programs also indicates a commitment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 2 or food security.
“At a time when our farmers are most vulnerable from existing and emerging issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, a fluctuating global market and high inflation, CHR reiterates the need to uphold equal access to land, technology, markets and sustainable food production systems,” she noted.
De Guia called on the government to continue strengthening its services to alleviate the farmers’ plight and support their livelihood.
“We repeat our consistent call: Let us ensure that our farmers are provided with equal dignity and rights inasmuch as they provide sustenance to ensure a productive population,” she said.
The six agriculture-related courses are the production of high-quality inbred rice and seed certification and farm mechanization, rice machinery operations, drying and milling plant servicing, agro-entrepreneurship, pest and nutrients management, and digital agriculture.
For 2022, TESDA has allotted over 50,000 scholarship slots under the RESP.
As of mid-year, 25,494 rice farmers have reportedly already enrolled in the program which offered, apart from training and assessment, scholarships with a P160-daily allowance.