Department of Agriculture Regional Director Rodel Tornilla expressed optimism that the combine harvester and four-wheel drive tractor given by the department to the Catanduanes State University would ultimately benefit local farmers who put food on Catandunganons’ tables.
In his message during the turnover of the equipment at the CatSU main lobby last July 6, 2021, Dir. Tornilla pointed out that the average age of farmers today is 57 years, with the university expected to produce agriculture graduates whose quality will be upgrated with the use of the equipment.
“As the smallest province in the region, we need to improve the agricultural sector as the island is not self-sufficient in rice, vegetables and even meat,” he stated.
He cited the importance of the academe in training the next generation of farmers and expressed the willingness of the agriculture department in partnering with CatSU.
Revealing his wish to be in the Board of Regents to be able to help the university, Tornilla promised to give the institution what is needed through the partnership in terms of materials.
In response, CatSU President Patrick Alain Azanza thanked Congressman Hector Sanchez, TGP Representative Jose Teves Jr. and Governor Joseph Cua for making the donation possible.
“This is one big contribution to the kind of learning students will enjoy at Catsu, which is learning by doing,” he said, citing the partnership with the local government units and the private sector as very important in enhancing education.
This kind of support is what we need in the academe, he added, through an academic culture that is responsive to the community and reaches out to farmers, market vendors, fishermen and other sectors.
“The academe has to come down from its pedestal and check the realities on the ground for CatSU to be relevant,” Dr. Azanza stressed,
Earlier, Cong. Teves, who is vice chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food Security, disclosed that he has filed a bill aimed at bringing back the Gulayan sa Paaralan program in a partnership between the DA, Department of Education and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
To be managed by barangays in view of the pandemic restrictions, the program also intends to encourage backyard gardening among the population and help address malnutrition by eliminating hunger.
He also vowed to negotiate a similar donation of farm equipment to the CatSU’s campus in Panganiban town as well as ask the agriculture department for gardening tools and vegetable seeds to be distributed in the 11 municipalities.