According to Dr. Agapito M. Bayron Jr., chief of the Quality Assurance Office, the extension projects validate CMU’s impact to the community.
“I observed that [the College of] Agriculture has really prepared… It has very strong extension projects,” he said.
Some of these projects were under the university-instituted Community-based Sustainable Development Program (COMBASUDEP) among the nine colleges—Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Business & Management, Education, Engineering, Forestry & Environmental Science, Human Ecology, Nursing, and Veterinary Medicine.
With this, the university supports the local government units and non-government organizations through community empowerment and mature technology diffusion to the target clienteles.
The BS Agriculture program has five ongoing extension projects but only two were visited by the accreditors. They have one in Mibantang, Quezon which is about Enhancing Farmers’ Resiliency to Climate Change through Community Actions and Adoption of Appropriate Technologies.
This project aims to strengthen farmers’ climate resiliency through food self-sufficiency by adoption of environment-friendly technologies like adlay and camote.
“As an output we replicated the community the Techno-Demo Farm and community seedbank. We also revived the spirit of bayanihan in the community,” said Dr. Raquel Salingay, focal person for Extension and Community Involvement of the Agriculture program.
She said that they were able to organize two People’s Organizations composed of 40 farmers to establish a learning farm and community seedbank to serve as the source of planting materials distributed to the members.
The other project is in Base Camp, Maramag, which is done in partnership with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD).
They developed a community-based farm, a technology application in multiple cropping and cacao technology entitled S&T Community-based Farms (STCBF) for a Sustainable Cacao Production in Bukidnon.
This had established a one-hectare organic cacao HYV bud-wood garden and nursery to capacitate the rural people of the province in organic cacao nursery operations and intercropping.
Dr. Salingay added that extension projects are one of the indicators that the university is productive. It has to contribute to social transformation by bridging science and people to improve life of the community.
“Whatever the result of this accreditation it is for the betterment of the university. After all, we are liable to the community,” she said. “The preparations are ok—but it is never easy…Only one thing we are sure of is we have done our best—whatever the result [will be].”
Dr. Bayron is optimistic that agriculture programs and even programs from the College of Arts and Sciences especially AB English, would pass the areas in Research, Extension, and Physical Facilities since they passed in the mock accreditation done prior to the AACCUP accreditation.
“The observations of the accreditors and the documents presented by the task force will be validated by the beneficiaries of the projects—the stakeholders can defend,” he said.
Dr. Teresita B. Bayaron, an accreditor from Davao del Norte State College, said that she is glad that the farmers were able to showcase the projects which might encourage others to duplicate like urban gardening and barangay gardening.
“At least the [implementors] were able to convince the farmers to participate and to engage with [this project], because it is not easy being a farmer who has other concerns,” she added.
On the other hand, Dr. Carolina Amper, dean of the College of Agriculture, is hopeful that they will pass the Level IV-Phase I accreditation.
She said that passing means that the program will be comparable to those in the top universities in the world in terms of quality education.
“It is our dream of having an excellent infrastructure, but we are dependent to the government funds. If we will be granted Level IV then this will be one of our justifications why we get this much from the government,” she explained.
Dr. Amper said that the College of Agriculture is now moving into the direction of having world-class laboratories and research facilities to better serve its stakeholders.
BS Agriculture is one of the six programs currently undergoing Level IV accreditation. The other five are BS Agribusiness Management, BS Development Communication, AB English, AB Political Science, and BS Chemistry. (IADalipe-Neri)