The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) did not stop a female farmer to improve her skills and help others as well by establishing an agricultural training site.
Rhea Dacallo, the second runner-up in this year’s Search for Outstanding Rural Women in Western Visayas of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said on Tuesday that her passion for farming and desire to prove that amid the pandemic it is still possible to contribute to development inspired her to pursue her learning site.
“I had developed a three-hectare farm in Barangay Iguirindon in the Municipality of San Remigio, which now serves as a learning site of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) under the DA,” she said in an interview.
She saw the potential of the farm when she relocated to San Remigio from her home province of Guimaras in 2018.
Her love for farming led to her being elected as president of the Uswag Durog Farmer’s Association in 2020 and currently the Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council (MAFC) chairperson of San Remigio.
“It was in one of the trainings that I had attended where I learned about the possible establishment of the farmer’s learning site,” she said.
On Aug. 13, 2020, the association received PHP300,000 assistance from ATI, through its head Dr. Eden Bautista, that was used for the construction of the training center and dorm for trainees to be able to establish the farmer’s learning site.
The site, now called Uswag-Durog River Gems, Inc., is providing training to farmers interested to learn about Integrated Farming System amid the pandemic.
“Last March, there were 25 farmers who had their training in our learning site on onion production,” she said.
Dacallo said the training was realized with the assistance of the ATI, which had a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the San Remigio Municipal Government and their association for the roll-out of the onion training.
This year the Uswag-Durog River Gems, Inc. was accredited as a training center by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Antique provincial office.
From June 14 to Sept 22 this year, hands-on training on new farming technologies and the use of modern agricultural equipment, and on entrepreneurship for them to be competitive was held for 125 farmers from Sibalom and San Remigio.
Dacallo received her award in a ceremony held in Iloilo City on Oct. 25. (PNA)