The Phil-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology (PhilSCAT) launched the Farmer Field School (FFS) project in its pilot site in barangay A. Pascual, San Jose City, on July 5, 2007, to help farmers improve their rice production practices.
In the ‘university without walls’, 31 farmer-students are taught cultural management practices using Chinese technologies especially on hybrid rice and integrated pest management.
They also learn the seed-to-seed concepts in rice cropping and observe the different stages of rice production from plant morphology to harvesting.
They meet once a week, every Wednesday, at 8:00 in the morning. The lecturers come from a pool of experts from PhilSCAT and the Department of Agriculture in San Jose City.
"The FFS is a good opportunity for farmers to study and learn about Chinese technology", said Cheng Liangji, project co-director, in his message to the participants during the launching ceremonies.
Cheng also oriented farmers on what they are going to learn in the 16-week training, including some tips on the prevention of stemborer attack, proper fertilizer application and good water management.
PhilSCAT director Dr. Romeo B. Gavino likewise asked the City Agricultural Office, one of the project partners, to submit a proposal on giving incentives to the participants at the end of the schooling.
Gavino said the students who will be able to best implement the FFS lessons in actual farm operation will be given appropriate incentives.
Meanwhile, farmer Dominador Ercilla who is a successful implementer of the PhilSCAT technology shared his personal experiences in using the PhilSCAT technology saying that these will be learned by the participants in the FFS.
Ercilla also encouraged the participants to diligently attend their classes if they really wanted to feel what he had experienced in planting Chinese hybrid rice.
Aside from the FFS, PhilSCAT in collaboration with the Agricultural Training Institute is also launching the Training for Trainers on Rice Production Technology and Extension Delivery system, a more comprehensive and season-long formal training course.