TRAINING ON AIR. Farmer participants of the School-on-the-Air on Smart Rice Agriculture in Tarlac show the radio sets they will use during their training program slated every weekend from Saturday (July 2, 2022) to October 9. The training aims to sustain the education of smallholder farmers and local intermediaries on modern and innovative technologies and approaches to smart rice production. (Photo by DA-ATI)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Agriculture-3 (Central Luzon) will conduct a School-on-the-Air training on Smart Rice Agriculture (SOA-SRA) program as part of the modernization program.

A total of 2,000 farmers in Tarlac will participate in the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) initiative to enhance their knowledge and skills in different agricultural technologies and practices.

The SOA-SRA radio-based distance learning program will run every weekend July 2 to October 9 from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

The farmer-participants are from the municipalities of Gerona, Pura, Ramos, Paniqui, Moncada, San Manuel, San Clemente, Anao, Concepcion, La Paz, Victoria, and Camiling.

Program project officer Shanemie Daquio said Friday that the program aims to help catalyze agriculture modernization through the massive and sustained education of smallholder farmers and local intermediaries on modern and innovative technologies and approaches to smart rice production.

“This approach can reach a wider audience simultaneously and has proven effective in sharing techno-based information even in far-flung areas,” Daquio said in a radio interview.

The ATI-3 began the implementation of the SOA-SRA in Aurora province in 2021 with 3,000 farmers participating.

With a rice yield of fewer than four tons per hectare, Aurora was chosen as the site for the program held from May to September last year.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority - Regional Statistical Services Office 3 showed that Central Luzon produced 772,855 metric tons of palay (unhusked rice) during the first quarter of the year.

The production volume is 10.56 percent higher than the 699,044 metric tons during the same period last year. (PNA)