Keeping the farmers informed and updating them with the new corn production technologies to further boost their production and consequently their incomes, the Department of Agriculture through the Regional Agriculture & Fisheries Information Division (RAFID) launched the School on the Air Program for Corn in the Region.
This was made known by Regional Agriculture & Fisheries Information Head, Ms. Gloria C. Parong during the 2013 Year-end Review and Assessment of the Corn Program and Planning Workshop held at the Supreme Hotel in Baguio City last October 18, 2013.
Discussing the mechanics of the Program, Ms. Parong emphasized the importance in conducting the School on the Air Program (SOAP) which will further educate farmers using the broadcast medium. Said program is informal in nature where a captive group of listeners would learn a crash course from the lectures/discussion of the designated broadcaster or farmcaster in each of the four provinces.
As part of the mechanics in implementing the School on the Air Program, DA through the RAFID entered a contract with six leading commercial radio stations in the region. These radio stations are DZJC and DZEA in Laoag City, DWRS in Vigan City and DZTP in Candon City, Ilocos Sur and DZNL in San Fernando City, La Union. The Aksyon Radyo of Dagupan City and DZWM in Alaminos City for Pangasinan were also contracted to provide the necessary facilities in the airing of the SOA and clear airwaves with a maximum frequency for wider-reach of listeners.
With a duration of three months aired at least 30 minutes, three times a week depending on the schedule of every provinces, farmcasters like Ms. Juana Peralta in La Union and Pangasinan, Ms. Lorna Lubera of Ilocos Norte and Mr. Metodio Acance in Ilocos Sur discuss topics on the recommended corn production technologies and other national and local concerns in the corn industry.
To consider the farmers as enrolled in the program, the agricultural extension workers in each municipality helps facilitate the enrollment of farmers by having them fill up the enrollment forms together with the pre-test to assess the level of their knowledge on corn production technologies.
Once enrolled in the program, farmer enrollees are expected to listen to the radio program as scheduled and submit their answers to the periodic tests given by the farmcasters every after module that are discussed.
To ensure active participation, enrollment forms as well as the periodic test questionnaires are made available at RAFID, Office of the Provincial and Municipal Agriculturist as well as the six radio stations regionwide. Farmers are required to submit their answered sheets to RAFID for checking especially the periodic test to validate whether these farmers have listened to the radio program which will then be the basis of validation whether the farmer-enrollees they can be considered as candidates for graduation in the program.
As a rule, only legitimate farmers with owned or leased farm lot shall be considered in the program. Since enrollment could also be in the form of texting, interested farmers are advised to indicate in their text message their names, address, age, area hectarage, and commodities planted/raised where only one cellphone number per enrollee is considered.
Come graduation ceremonies, RAFID shall determine the ten most outstanding farmers who have painstakingly and actively participated in the program. In recognition to their active participation in the program, DA shall be giving cash awards and tokens aside from the certificates and plaques.
To also recognize the efforts of the Local Government Units in helping the DA realize a successful implementation of the project, DA shall be giving cash awards to the Municipalities with most number of enrollees' and graduates in the program and likewise the municipality with the with the most number of enrollees/graduates from among the four provinces.####