ILOILO CITY – Over 3,000 learners from 27 farm schools in Western Visayas are expected to benefit from the Sarap Sustansya Farm School program that will be piloted in the region starting this school year 2023-2024.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and Maggi, a food and flavoring brand of Nestle Philippines, on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Agreement for the implementation of the program that will equip learners with skills in preparing affordable and nutritious meals from out of their produce.
In the agreement, Maggi will provide DepEd with training and learning materials on Sarap Sustansya cooking, regenerative farming, entrepreneurial skills and farming tools and implements to assist faculty and learners in propagating their school farms.
Regenerative farming is an approach that focuses on ensuring the health of the soil and waterways, biodiversity and increasing resilience to climate change.
“Today we are about to embark on another dimension of adding more value to the harvest of our learners. Our learners will have more appreciation of their harvest because it will not remain as vegetables that they can sell but it will be converted into value-added products with this training through our teachers,” said Dr. Mayleen Joy V. Fariñas, officer-in-charge of the DepEd Field Technical Assistance Division in her message.
In a press conference, Raine Marie Calma, service pillar head of Maggi and assistant vice president of Nestle Philippines, Inc., said that they looked forward to a successful run although it was not integrated into the farm school curriculum.
“Right now it’s a knowledge transfer. What is happening in the next three days, we’re training the heads of schools so they can train their respective students from their schools,” she said.
Fariñas explained that the establishment of the farm school was the brainchild of DepEd Regional Director Ramir Uytico.
It aimed to contextualize career agricultural options for learners and provide them with certifiable technical skills to be productive leaders in agricultural innovations, and produce champions who are globally competitive and equipped with life and career skills.
It complied with Republic Act 10618 or The Farm School Act which encourages the establishment of at least one rural farm school in every province in the country.
“So we only have six provinces but we have 27 farm schools in Region 6 (Western Visayas),” she added. (PNA)