GRADUATES. Farmers in Tarlac province show the certificate of completion on acquired farming techniques through the Palay-Aralan sa Radyo: School on the Air on Smart Rice Agriculture (SOA-SRA) during their graduation ceremony on Nov. 9, 2022. A total of 2,000 farmers in Tarlac completed the four-month online platform program which started in July 2022. (Photo courtesy of the DA-ATI Region III)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – At least 2,000 farmers in the province of Tarlac are now equipped with knowledge of new agricultural technologies that could help boost their productivity.

The farmers completed the four-month online platform program which started last July through the Palay-Aralan sa Radyo: School on the Air on Smart Rice Agriculture (SOA-SRA) implemented by the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI).

The radio-based learning program focused on climate-smart rice technologies and the PalayCheck System.

Project officer Mariel Baldoz said on Friday that the SOA-SRA program provided great opportunities for the farmers to learn technologies and best practices in smart rice farming.

“With the enhancement of the farmers’ knowledge of new rice farming practices, there will big chance for them to achieve their target yield,” Baldoz said in a social media post.

Tarlac provincial agriculturist Alicia Cruz thanked the DA-ATI for the conduct of the SOA-SRA program in the province that gave opportunities for smallholder farmers and local intermediaries to learn modern and innovative technologies and approaches to smart rice production through radio.

“To our farmer graduates, sana po ay magamit ninyo ang inyong mga natutunan upang lalo pang mapataas ang inyong ani at patuloy na maging progresibo. Sana po ay maging katuwang din po namin kayo upang maibahagi sa ibang magsasaka ang kaalaman patungkol sa smart rice agriculture (We hope that you could use what you have learned in order to increase your yields and continue to have progress. Hopefully, you could also be our partners in sharing to other farmers the information in regards to smart rice agriculture),” Cruz said.

DA Regional Focal Person Lowell Rebillaco likewise expressed hope the farmers could apply the new technologies they have learned to increase the average palay yield in Tarlac.

In 2021, Rebillaco said the average palay yield in the province was 4.32 metric tons per hectare or 86 cavans per hectare.

Meanwhile, Deofe Idang, one of the farmer graduates from Mayantoc, Tarlac, said the SOA-SRA program is a blessing that gave them the opportunity to learn various modern ways of farming.

“Sa kagaya ko po na baguhan pa lang sa larangan ng pagsasaka ang aking mga natutunan ay magsisilbing gabay sa pamamahala ko sa aming bukirin (To a newbie like me in the field of farming, what I have learned will serve as guide in supervising our ricefields),” Idang said. (PNA)