KABACAN, Cotabato (DWDD) – The Department of Agriculture is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) which will direct the inclusion of subjects and modules on how to operate different agricultural equipment in the university’s current curriculum.
This was the announcement made by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, during the distribution of farm machineries and post harvest facilities on October 3 at the USM Gymnasium, in Kabacan, Cotabato.
“This is my gift to you, to make USM one of the best institutions in agriculture and agri-chem,” Piñol said.
The agri chief added that he conceptualized the program based on his experience in Japan recently.
“I was inspired by the Japanese government’s advanced mechanization program,” Piñol disclosed.
Under the agreement, USM will serve as the pilot university of a farm mechanization component, which seeks to teach agriculture students how operate farm equipment. DA will provide all the latest machineries and facilities including tractors, combine harvesters and shredders.
The move, according to the Secretary, is part of the national mechanization program of the government.
“There are agriculture graduates who don’t even know what a tractor looks like and how to operate it. I want all the students here to know how to make these farm machines work before they graduate,” Piñol said.
Piñol also committed to establish a rice-processing complex inside USM, which will be included in the 2019 budget. The complex will serve as a learning hub for students who are interested in developing new seed variety.
DA targets to implement the same program with other state colleges and universities across the country starting next year.
Meanwhile, agricultural machinery distributor Yanmar Philippines turned over one (1) unit of combine harvester to be managed by USM.
The agri chief said he will also recommend about 30 graduating students from USM to undergo training on modern farming in Minamikamura, Japan, which will be sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“I want you to be as advanced as Japanese farmers that’s why I am also exposing you to this kind of opportunity,” Piñol said.
He also encouraged students to submit thesis proposals, which provides practical implementation to the agriculture industry. He said DA is willing to provide financial assistance for completion of their project. DA-AFID/MCAG