With around 100 participants from nine (9) high schools in Nueva Ecija, the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) through the AGRISIKAT Team, conducted a two-day Family Engagement Camp on 26-27 April, 2018 held at the RET Amphitheatre, CLSU, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.
The camp, anchored on the theme “Agrikultura ang Aking Kultura,” which was participated by parent-representatives, principals, and focal persons from Caanawan National High School, Gabaldon Essential School, Doña Juana Tioco High School, San Sebastian School, Palusapis Integrated School, Elim School for Values and Excellence, Herminio Nicolas High School, College of the Immaculate Concepcion, and Cesar E. Vergara Memorial High School.
Dr. Regidor G. Gaboy, AGRISIKAT Project Leader and Dean of the College of Education, emphasized in his opening remarks the important role that Agriculture plays in the Philippines which in this case, the backbone of our nation and our economy.
Afterwards, Dr. Jocelyn L. Aveno, Training Office Director and OIC of the Vice President for Research, Extension and Training, delivered her welcome address where she stressed the essence of utilizing CLSU technologies which will surely ease farming from crop production to harvesting, then to packaging.
“Tamang tama ang ating tema ngayong Agrikultura ang Aking Kultura, dahil ang Pilipinas ay isang agrikultural na bansa. Itaguyod natin sa ating mga puso, isipan at gawain ang agrikultura,” Aveno said as a conclusion of her speech.
Moreover, Mr. Adorable Pineda, PMO Director and OIC of the University President, encouraged the parents to expose and engage their children in agriculture and to encourage them to take agricultural courses, especially now, that the country depends a lot to the harvest of those in agriculture.
Ms. Maria Adrielle Estigoy, AGRISIKAT Assistant Project Leader and DevCom Faculty, ended the opening program with a brief explanation to why the campaign, as well as the family engagement camp was being conducted. According to her, the campaign was born to address the declining enrolees in agriculture, and the ageing population of Filipino farmers. She popped the question that if this trend continues 15 to 20 years from now, then what does the future hold for the next generation? The answer is simply “food security will be at risk.”
“AGRISIKAT is a career and family engagement campaign on agrifisheries. It was coined from the words agrikultura (agriculture) and sikat (famous), since, initially, it aimed to change the perspective of people especially, the youth about agriculture, that it is not just about farming or getting your hands dirty. That, agriculture is a viable career option and, one can actually be ‘sikat’ because of agriculture,” Estigoy explained.
The parents, on the other hand, plays a big role in choosing the right education for their children thus, Estigoy highlighted the purpose to why they were invited to the two-day event.
The campaign team aimed to convince the parents to first, adopt CLSU technologies including hydroponics, goat production, aquashade, mushroom production among others and second, to engage their children in farming or agriculture in general, and convince them to take agrifishery courses.
After the opening program, technology pitching/sharing was also conducted with topics on carabao enterprise, hydroponics and aquaponics production, aquashade, goat production, mushroom production, tilading processing, and organic vegetable production shared by the directors and representatives from the different R&D centers in CLSU.
To complete the whole camp experience, participants visited the different R&D centers including UMART, a restaurant cum showroom of CLSU-developed products, giving them a hands-on experience of the technologies presented to them.
The two-day event allowed the participants to explore and learn more on the latest in agriculture. The key messages of the AGRISIKAT Campaign, Sa Agrikultura, may future ka, may kita ka, at may maibabahagi ka, also transcended as one of the participant, Mrs. Elena Grande, a parent representative from Caanawan National Highschool, shared “Kahapon pagkatapos ng opening program, tinawagan ko na agad ang anak ko. Sabi ko, nak’ mag agriculture ka nalang. Mukang may maganda kang future dito.”
Grande, with excitement, also added “Nang makalibot kami sa iba’t ibang centers lalong lumawak ang aking pang-unawa sa agrikultura. Kung kaya’t hihikayatin ko talaga ang aking anak na pagbutihin ang pag-aaral upang makapasa sa CLSU at makakuha ng kursong agrikultura.”
The closing program was graced by Dr. Tereso Abella, CLSU President, to which he gave salute to the parents who actively participated in the foresaid event. “Dahil po sa inyo, at sa mga narinig kong testimonya nang ilan sa inyo, naniniwala po ako na may pag-asa pa. Na ang mga anak ninyong kukuha ng kursong agrikultura ang magbibigay kabuluhan at kahalagahan nito sa ating bansa, lalong lalo na sa mga susunod na henerasyon,” Tereso said.
Indeed, agriculture is as important as the air humans breathe. So if the Filipinos recognize that rice is life, then perhaps, agriculture is ‘lifer’.