GRADUATION. Farmer-graduates of the school-on-the-air program receive their certificate of graduation on Wednesday (Sept. 28, 2022). A total of 800 farmers completed the 33 episodes of the program aired over a local radio station in Antique since June 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Vice Gov. Edgar Denosta)

SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – Farmer-graduates are urged to apply their learnings from the Smart Rice Agriculture school-on-the-air (SOA) program to increase their production.

A total of 800 farmers from 14 municipalities of the province graduated on Wednesday upon completion of the 33 episodes of the SOA that is being handled by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI).

“The SOA discussed topics that could help farmers on how to increase their farm production using new technologies,” said Vice Governor Edgar Denosta, who is the Antique Provincial Board committee on agriculture chairperson and graduation speaker, in a follow-up interview on Thursday.

Each episode aired over a local radio station in Antique since June 2 from 5 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. every Thursday and Friday tackled topics about new technologies intended to help farmers increase their production.

SOA Antique provincial coordinator Cynthia Nietes said that face-to-face pre-test and post-test were held to ensure that farmer-enrollees understood the topics that were discussed.

“We monitor and evaluate the learning of the farmers,” Nietes said in an interview.

Among the topics were climate change and its impact on agriculture, palay check system, marketing or rice trading, mechanization, balance fertilization strategy, and pest and disease control.

“The palay check system guide farmers on their crop management using nine key checks such as using high-quality seeds, having a well-level field during land preparation, and synchronous planting,” she said.

Nietes added that farmers were also taught how to use mechanized transplanters, tractors, and harvesters to make their work more efficient.

Farmers who completed the SOA were given diplomas and bush hats to use when they go out to their farms. (PNA)