ati dirOn the occasion of the 90th Founding Anniversary of the Visayas State University in Baybay City, Leyte, the University invited the Executive Director of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Dr. Asterio P. Saliot, to give the inspirational message during the Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Day in the morning of August 11, 2014 at the VSU Convention Hall.

In the presence of some 2,000 farmers and fisherfolks from the different parts of Region VII and Region VIII, Director Saliot expounded his message based on the theme “Upland Agriculture: Unlocking its Potentials for Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.”

The ATI Director lauded VSU through Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, University President, “for initiating the historical event for our farmers and fisherfolks who are the food providers of our country.”

Dr. Saliot emphasized that since he took the leadership of ATI, he faced so many challenges and has to be visible to the farmers. “Nobody is to be blamed for some failures of ATI in giving services to our people except myself being the one responsible for our agency,” he lamented.  Saliot added that we should not let our future be controlled by other people, but rather we must be the controller of our future.  

Director Saliot also presented some of the programs launched by ATI after a year of serving as head of the agency.   These include the following: the International Standard Organization (ISO) Certification for Transparency for those who want to learn what ATI is doing, how the agency spends the funds allocated, and how its personnel work; the Electronic Extension Program in 2007, the only and the first-ever government institution throughout the country to be recognized by the US Department of Agriculture in which they try to become the electronic hub of Asia and the Pacific; the Farmers Contact Center that would enable the farmers to contact, through free text, to their agency; the Electronic Trading in tandem with the Department of Agriculture being pushed by Secretary Proceso Alcala, where farmers can sell their products in the Trading Post for traceability of the quality of the products being sold; Schools for Practical Agriculture where the farmers can learn different technologies from their fellow farmers; From Arms to Farms wherein it opens its door to the rebels who are willing and interested to adopt the programs of the government; and the ladderized course on Agri-Entrepreneurship Scholarship Program for out-of-school youth offered in tri-mester wherein the youth shall undergo formal classroom instruction during the first month of the first semester in the university and the remaining three months of the same semester shall be devoted to hands-on experience and learn first-hand information from the farmers right in the farmer’s farm site for them to appreciate the beauty and importance of farming.

We, at ATI, cannot dictate what you want in farming, rather we give technologies, knowledge and information for you to make the right decision intended for your farming activities,” Dr. Saliot averred. He added that the farmers can now choose from different menus in our program the different technologies they can use and adopt which are applicable to their own means of livelihood.

Dr. Saliot further said that through the electronic extension program, our agricultural technicians will learn more other things to develop and strengthen self-confidence, increase their knowledge, and to give extra services to our farmers and fishermen. Moreover, he revealed that the online farming initiated by ATI would enable the Overseas Filipino Workers to invest in agriculture and fishery in our country.

The ATI Director also assured the farmers and the farmer leaders that they will help them through training and upgrading the knowledge that they have for them to become competent teachers to their fellow farmers and to the young people who don’t like farming for them to realize that there is money in agriculture.

VSU President Jose L. Bacusmo, together with Baybay City Mayor Carmen L. Cari, Leyte Vice Governor Carlo P. Loreto, and VSU’s VP for Research and Extension Othello B. Capuno, presented a plaque of recognition to Dr. Saliot “For sharing his valuable time and wisdom to farmers and fisherfolks of Eastern Visayas during the Farmers and Fisherfolks’ Day 2014, and for his strong commitment and contribution to VSU’s research and extension programs that helped improve the quality of life of small farmers and fisherfolks in the District.

The occasion was made more meaningful with the presence of some dignitaries who are avid supporters of VSU by giving their congratulatory messages to the Institution for its 90 years of faithful and dedicated services to its major clientele—the small Visayan farmers. These included: Vice Gov. C. P. Loreto who also spoke on behalf of Gov. Leopoldo Dominico L. Petilla, Baybay Mayor C. L. Cari who also brought the message of 5th District Congressman Jose Carlos L. Cari, Ms. Nina Cecilia C. Amazona from the office of Senator Cynthia Villar, and ATI Region 8 Director Vilma M. Patindol.

The activity and the rest of the anniversary activities were being covered live by the VSU FM Radio Station DYDC; and the “Asenso Pinoy”, a TV Show hosted by Mr. Francis Cardona broadcasted over ABS-CBN Sports+Action (Channel 23) every Saturday at 6:30AM and in People’s Television (PTV4) every Sunday at 11:30AM.