To promote the potentials and opportunities in the field of agriculture and fisheries, the College of Education (CEd) furnished “AGRISIKAT! Sa AGRIKULTURA, SIKAT ka! A Career Advocacy for Grade 9 Students and Family Engagement on Agriculture and Fisheries” which ran from April 15, 2017 to January 31, 2018.
The career advocacy campaign was led by Dr. Regidor Gaboy, also the Dean of College of Education (CEd), and eight project investigators namely Ma. Adrielle Estigoy, Emil Ubaldo, Ma. Ruby Hiyasmin Malicdem, Vilma Salas, Michael Mabalay, Milagros Santos, Michael Mananghaya and Mark Gill Mercado.
The general and main objective of the campaign intends to promote agriculture and fisheries as a viable career option for students and channel towards technology and livelihood endeavors of their family. The campaign was granted by the Commission on Higher Education-National Agricultural and Fisheries Education System (CHED-NAFES) a project funding of ₱4,000,000.
AgriSikat aims to encourage more future agriculturists for future development. There are many possible career paths in agriculture such as becoming a fish doctor, rice chemist, animal nutritionist, and arm machine expert, among many others. However, these tend to get overlooked as students have limited information about the agricultural field.
“Nawawalan na ng interest ang mga bata sa pag-aaral ng Agriculture, if that is the case, paano na lamang ang ating food sustainability? Sino ang magsasaka sa kinabukasan?” said Dr. Gaboy as he emphasized one of the reasons why they conducted AgriSikat. According to him, the average age of Filipino farmers is 57, and that it is quite alarming that they are already an aging population.
The campaign commenced by establishing linkages with DepEd schools in the province with a total of 200 Grade 9 students of both public and private schools, 60 families, and 40 teachers from five participating DepEd School Divisions in Nueva Ecija which include Science City of Muñoz, Cabanatuan City, San Jose City, Gapan City, and Nueva Ecija.
AgriSikat also showcased Central Luzon State University (CLSU) technologies including organic-based crop production, tilapia pond culture and tilapia fish processing, goat production and chevon and goat milk processing, SMART Farming – Smart Management of Irrigation and Nutrients Data Acquisition and Sensor Technologies (SMART MINDS), and Technology Business Incubation towards Enterprise Development.
There were 12 CLSU and other agencies technology centers visited by the student and faculty participants: Philippine Carabao Center (PCC)-National Headquarters, Freshwater Agriculture Center (FAC), Ramon Magsaysay Center for Agricultural Resources and Environment Studies (RM-CARES), Small Ruminant Center (SRC), CLSU Hydrophonics and Aquaphonics Technology Center (CHATC), Center for Tropical Mushroom Development (CTRMD), Philippine-Sino Center for Agriculture Technology (PhilSCAT), Institute of Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM), CLSU Science Centrum, Agricultural Science and Technology School (ASTS), CLSU-Philippine Carabao Center Outlet and Umart Business Center.
Singer and celebrity Darren Lyndon Espanto was invited to serve as the ambassador of the campaign to further promote the activity and encourage more students to change their perspectives about agriculture and fisheries.
Some of the activities in the campaign include Agri-Fish Camp, a three-day activity in CLSU campus held on November 8-10, 2017. Participating students and teachers were given a first-hand agriculture and fisheries experiences through the different activities of the university. The team also headed Tuklasang Idyanale; a contest of innovative and creative agri-fishery technologies, concept and ideas from the student beneficiaries and their families, and Kwentong Agri-Fish; a photography and video contest. Agri-Fish Congress highlighted the activities that had been implemented in relation to the campaign.
Some activities such as the Agri-Fish Caravan and Agrisikat Caravan were featured by “Reel Time” a GMA News TV11 show.
“The campaign was a success, but it was only the beginning of encouraging the youth to engage in agri-fisheries,” Dr. Gaboy said.
The campaign carries the idea that through engaging in Agriculture and Fisheries, one can contribute to poverty alleviation by food security through sharing knowledge and helping feed the world.