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Implementing Guidelines on Provision of Special Technical Assistance for Program on Accelerating Far

Date Issued: 07 November 2016

Effectivity: 07 November 2016

In the interest of the service, in order to assist in the promotion of sustainable Agriculture and Fishery productivity and rural development, by providing access to technical vocational education and training (TVET) at the countryside through the farm schools, the following implementing guidelines are hereby being issued:

I. Background/Rationale:

• About half of all Filipinos live in rural—farming or fishing—areas and 70 percent of the poor families in our country are rural. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the poverty incidence among fishermen is 39.2 percent, and among farmers, 38.3 percent. The average income of Filipino farmers, whose average age is 57 years, is only P2, 300.00 a month, working on his 1.5-hectare farm. The younger generation, who saw their parents, grow old and poor in farming do not see agriculture as a lucrative career. Farming in the Philippines cannot support a family. There is no assurance that there will be "successor —farmers to take over the task of producing food for the growing population.

• Providing access to TVET thru the Agri-Fishery farm schools is one of the strategies in achieving the long term goal of rural development. This is also one of TESDA's responses in President Rodrigo R. Duterte's policy pronouncement that "It is my moral obligation to provide available and affordable food for my people".

II. Objectives:

• The general objective of the project is to accelerate the establishment of farm schools in all municipalities nationwide. This is ensure that poor farmers and fisherfolks, their families and relatives gained appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude in increasing the farm productivity thru technology updates and entrepreneurial activities, thus improving their economic status in life;

• Specifically, the project aims to provide scholarship grants to the farmers and fisherfolks, their families and relatives, extension workers and facilitators and trainers to assist the farm owners in building the capability and capacity of their farms thus increase productivity.

Ill. Scope/Coverage:

• The Guidelines shall be implemented in close coor

dination with the Department of Agriculture — Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR);

• To fast track the initial year of implementation of the project, all accredited Learning Sites (LSs), Schools for Practical Agriculture (SPAs), Extension Service Providers (ESPs) of the DA-ATI and the identified Farm Business Schools (FBS) and LinksFarm Sites (LFS) of the DAR shall be covered by this Circular;

• Other farm schools which are not accredited and identified by the DA-ATI and the DAR respectively, shall likewise be covered by this Circular; and

• Entrepreneurship training program shall be included in the scholarship grant. This is to educate the farmers on agro-enterprise and make them business-minded as well and increase their income.

IV. The Concept of Farm Schools:

• The concept of the farm schools is based on the Farm Field Schools (FFS) developed by the UNFood Agriculture Organization (FAO) to help farmers become competitive and seize advantage of the opportunities in the market by operating their farms efficiently and profitably. The focus is on the content and not the training facility. The methodology is "learning by doing". The learning is from 'Farmer to Farmer", and learning is demand responsive and interactive, and is matched to the farm season.

• The FFS consists of groups of farmers (20-25 in number) who get together to study a particular topic which vary from conservation agriculture, organic agriculture, animal husbandry, and soil husbandry, to income generating, etc. The FFS empower the farmers with knowledge and skills and attitude, sharpen the farmers' ability to make critical and informed decisions, provide opportunities for learning by doing, and teaches basic agricultural and management skills that make farmers experts in their own farms and help farmers learn how to organize themselves and their communities. The curriculum follows the natural seasonal cycle of the crop, animal, soil or whatever areas (e.g. ecology, sociology) to allow all aspects to be covered in what is happening in the FFS field. Schedules are flexible to fit it into current farming operations and follows local necessities and needs.

• To assist the Filipino farmers and fisherfolks to become competitive and engage in productive and sustainable agriculture and fishery programs, the Department of Agriculture-Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI) is currently implementing projects on the establishments of Learning Sites (LS), Schools for Practical Agriculture or Sanayan ng Pagsasaka at Adhikaing Agrikultura (SPA). Included in the project is the accreditation of Extension Service Providers at the National and the Regional level. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is likewise implementing projects on Farm Business Schools (FBS) and LinksFarm Sites. These identified projects are based on the above-mentioned concepts of the FFS.

V. Implementation Mechanics:

There shall be levels of implementing the scholarship program for the farm schools, depending on the size of the farms, as follows:

1. Marginal Farms — below 1 hectare

2. Small Farms — I to 2 hectares

3. Semi-Medium Farms — 2 to 4 hectares

4. Medium Farms — 4 to 10 hectares

5. Large Farms — over 10 hectares

(Data Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: Asia Pacific Commission on Agricultural Statistics: file:///C:/Users/PC%20User/Downloads/APCAS-10-28_- Small_farmers%20(1).pdf)

A. Level I: Marginal/Small/Semi-Medium Sized Farms Schools

A.1 Program Registration

1. The DA-ATI accredited Learning Sites (LS) and Schools for Practical Agriculture (SPA) and the DAR- identified FBS and LFS are considered marginal/small/semi-medium sized farms.

As such, those interested to avail of the TWSP scholarship grants for training of farm workers, their family members and members of the communities shall register their programs with the nearest TESDA Regional/Provincial Offices (ROP0s).

2. The TESDA ROPO shall provide technical assistance to the farm-owner applicant and facilitate the issuance of Certificate of TVET Program Registration (CTPR), in accordance with the revised process cycle time (PCT) on program registration (TESDA Circular No.35 series of 2016), subject to actual inspection of the farm and the submission of the following requirements by the farm schools:

• Letter of Application (Form No. TESDA-SOP-00-01-F01 of the UTPRAS Guidelines, TESDA Circular No.35 series of 2016))

• Valid Certificate of DA-ATI Accreditation for the LS and the SPA

• Valid Certification from DAR for the FBS and LFS.

3. The lists of DA-ATI accredited LS and SPA and DAR identified FBS and LFS are attached as part of this Circular for reference and guidance (Annex A). The list may be updated by DA-ATI and DAR as necessary. Thus, the Regional Directors are instructed to coordinate with their DA and DAR counterparts on the updated lists at least on a monthly basis;

4. Program registration of other marginal/small/semi-medium sized farms schools not accredited and identified by DA-ATI and DAR respectively, interested to avail of the scholarship funds shall likewise follow item A.1.2 above; and

5. Following the concept of the FFS, the CTPR, "With Training Regulations (WTR)" or No Training Regulations (NTR)" to be issued

to the farm school shall be based on all existing and available units of competencies/cluster of competencies/qualifications at the farm, as these farms are integrated and multi-crop farms (e.g. horticulture, animal crop production, organic farming, aquaculture, etc.).

B. Level II: Medium to Large Size Farms Schools

B.1 Program Registration

1. The DA-ATI accredited Extension Service Providers (ESPs) at the National and Regional and are considered medium to large sized farm schools. ESPs are private groups (nongovernment organization, people's organizations and other private organizations) accredited by DA-ATI and currently doing the agricultural training and extension work for target clientele along the value chain (input suppliers, producers, traders, processors, consumers). (Source: DA-ATI Implementing Rules and Regulations on the Accreditation of Private ESPs);

2. The medium to large sized farm schools interested to avail of the TWSP funds, shall register their programs with the nearest TESDA Regional/Provincial Offices (ROP0s) in accordance with the Omnibus Guidelines on UTPRAS (TESDA Circular No. 07, series of 2016);

3. The TESDA ROPO shall provide technical assistance to facilitate the issuance of Certificate of TVET Program Registration (CTPR), in accordance with the revised process cycle time (PCT) on program registration (TESDA Circular No.35 series of 2016);

4. Program registration of other medium to large sized farm schools not accredited and identified by DA-ATI and DAR respectively, interested to avail of the scholarship grants shall likewise follow item B.1.2 and B.1.3 above; and

5. Entrepreneurship training program shall likewise be provided under this level.

C. Target Beneficiaries

1. Target Beneficiaries of the farm schools are farmers and fisher folks and their relatives up to the 4th level of consanguinity and members of the community of the farm school. The qualifications of beneficiaries shall be in accordance with the latest Implementing Guidelines of the TWSP;

2. All TESDA RO/POs shall coordinate with the DA-ATI and the DAR Regional/Provincial/Field Offices on the identification of beneficiaries with corresponding identified courses/programs to be conducted at the farm school; and

3. Beneficiaries shall entitled to free training and assessment.

D. Schedule of Cost per Unit of Competency/Cluster of Competency/Qualification

1. The schedule of cost for the farm schools shall be based on TESDA Circular No. 02 series of 2016 (TWSP) and TESDA Circular No. 13, series of 2014 (STEP) as appropriate;

2. Where the identified courses/programs of the target beneficiaries are not included in the abovementioned TESDA Circulars, a new TESDA Circular shall be issued to cover the cost of such programs; and

3. The PAFSE Scholarship Grant Qualification Map (QM) (Attached PAFSE Form 01) shall be prepared by the farm school owner/administrator based on approved schedule of costs. The concerned ROPOs shall assist in accomplishing the QM. The QM shall be endorsed for approval by the TESDA Provincial Director, the Regional Director and the concerned Deputy Director General based on zonal assignment. Said QM shall then be forwarded to the PMO/ODDG for LGUs for processing and final endorsement for approval of the Director General.

E. Assessment and Certification of Graduates

1. Graduates of the farm schools shall be subjected to mandatory assessment depending on the Cluster of Competencies/Qualifications for WTR programs enrolled by the beneficiaries. Thus, assessment of graduates as pre-requisite to the payment of training fees shall likewise depend on the enrolled program/s of the beneficiaries; and

2. Assessment fees shall be charged to the TWSP funds and shall be based on TWSP Schedule of Costs (TESDA Circular No. 02 series of 2016 (TWSP); TESDA Circular No. 13, series of 2014 (STEP).

F. Funding Source

The special technical assistance program on PAFSE shall be charge to the Training for Work Scholarship (TWSP) funds.

G. Availment of Scholarship Grant

Any grantee may avail multiple scholarship programs but not simultaneously. Availment of more than one (1) scholarship program however shall be related or value-adding to the first (1st) scholarship program in Agri-Fishery/Agri-mechanization sector and other related programs to improve the productivity of the beneficiaries and contribute to improvement of their quality of life.

H. Distribution Scheme of TWSP Scholarship Grant

The PO shall distribute the TWSP Scholarship Grant to the farm schools after the approval of the QM.

I. Administrative and Financial Procedures

1. A special allocation from the TWSP funds shall be allocated for the implementation of the PAFSE; and

2. Payment to the Farm School shall be made upon submission of the following required documents:

a. Billing Statement;

b. MIS 03-02 (Training and Employment Report) duly signed by the authorized signatories of Farm Schools;

c. Daily Attendance Sheet (for the duration of the training);

d. Certified true copy of RWAC for payment of assessment fess; and

e. TESDA copy of the TWSP Scholarship Grant duly signed by the concerned officials

J. Monitoring and Evaluation of Reports

1. The monitoring and mentoring requirements of the PM0 shall be observed which shall include the new Performance and Monitoring Report (BEDs and BFARs). Regular and timely submission of accurate and consistent data shall be strictly followed and shall be submitted on every 3rd day of the following month; and

2. The physical and the financial reports as reflected in the template shall always be consistent for correct and accurate reporting to oversight agencies.

This Circular shall take effect as indicated.

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