ONE thousand six hundred eighty-nine (1,689) out of 4,428 examinees nationwide, or 38.14%, passed the Agriculturist Licensure Examination given by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Board of Agriculture in 12 testing centers in the country in June 2018.
Three (3) successful examinees from the Region landed on the Top 10 in the national level – Niko Latoza Mambusada (Rank No. 4) and Rolly Salimbot Amion (Rank No. 5) of West Visayas State University-College of Agriculture and Forestry (WVSU-CAF) in Lambunao, Iloilo, and Jayson Villaflor Tumbay (Rank No. 10) of Central Philippine State University (CPSU) in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
The West Visayas State University-CAF is the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Center of Development (COD) in Agriculture Education and CHED-COD in Forestry Education in Western Visayas. Congratulations to WVSU-CAF, especially to Dr. Joel A. Araquil and Dr. Jose Ariel A. Tutor, the Associate Deans of the two Colleges respectively.
In the regional level, 11 agricultural schools in Western Visayas out of 30, or 37%, performed high or with a passing percentage higher than that of the national level. The region produced 282 passers out of 802 takers, or 35.16% passing percentage. There were 151 repeaters who took the said examination and 651 first takers.
The repeaters’ passing percentage is 30.48%, while the first takers passing percentage is 36.25%. Eight out of 10 examinees from the region were first takers. The low performance of first takers and repeaters in the region pinned down the Region’s overall performance.
The top three high performing higher education institutions (HEIs) in the region with 50 or more examinees are West Visayas State University-CAF, Aklan State University-Main (ASU-Main) and Central Philippine State University-Main (CPSU-Main). Aklan State University in Banga, Aklan is also the CHED Center of Development (COD) in Agriculture Education.
The latest survey on the most popular courses among students in Western Visayas showed that Agriculture remains unpopular to incoming freshmen students in higher education. This is a great challenge to our HEIs offering agriculture programs, especially the state colleges and universities mandated to offer Agriculture related courses.
There are three private and 27 public colleges and universities, or 30 out of 152, in the region that offer agriculture programs. Few students took agriculture due to our biased and colonial perception that Agriculture is a less prestigious and profitable profession. This attitude is more prevalent in the rural areas where farming has the mainstay in the population and where much of the population still lives in poverty.
The agricultural sector plays an important role in the economic development of this country aside from providing food. It also provides raw materials needed to create another product. Natural materials from forests, fields, and seas can be made into a variety of handicraft products.
The agricultural sector also contributes to the national economy through the export of agricultural products to other countries including sugar, flowers, fruits, seafood and many others.
Today, an important source of income for the government is the exportation of agricultural products. It provides employment to a large number of Filipinos especially those in the countryside that depend on agriculture for their livelihood such as farming, fishing, mining and raising livestock. It also provides for the needs of the domestic economy and creates economic stability while providing long-term and stable employment.
Hence, other developed countries in the world strengthen their agricultural sectors by providing financial support to their farmers, even scientists and researchers who aim to enhance further their agricultural production. In this time of national challenges, we need to produce more Professional Agriculturists in the country.