My Holy Land Farming Experience!

“TESDA PTC–Davao is the key to rev up my Israel Agro-studies”, quips John Paul Olandria, a 27-year-old hopeful from Mintal, Tugbok District, Davao City. His journey to secure a slot for the Agro-studies internship in Israel was challenging because he lacked the requirements to support his bid. However, with his persistence and his family’s encouragement, he prospered. In October 2022, he fulfilled one of his bucket lists as he sets his footprints on the Holy Land.

Jepoy, as his family and friends called him, graduated from the University of Southeastern Philippines–College of Development Management (USEP-CDM) Campus in Mintal, Davao City. He graduated Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Agricultural Business Management, and passed the Licensure Examination for Agriculturists, which made him a licensed agriculturist.

He confessed that even though he was in agriculture studies before, and had already tackled the principles of agriculture, it did not provide additional necessary skills while studying at the university. It prompted him to continue his studies.

He enrolled in Organic Agriculture Production NC II at TESDA Provincial Training Center–Davao. He remarked that “the institution provides very effective skills on trades. It enhances your knowledge even further in your specialization, even if you are already in the industry.” He shared further that he took the qualification in OAP NC II, which enrich his understanding of the ideologies of the organic way of farming, and trained him a lot of inputs not using synthetic as opposed to the usual conventional farming where excessive use of these artificial chemicals is present. The ideas they teach about the principles of organic farming conform to the standards in the country, which is why every trainee who took the program from TESDA PTC–Davao institution becomes confident enough to be equipped with natural farming.

  While attending his OAP NC II training, he learned about the Agro-studies internship program in Israel offered by TESDA to young and aspiring Filipino agriculturists. He pursued his interest and secured the documents needed for his internship application. After his OAP NC II training in July 2022, he took the national assessment and secured the National Certificate Level II. Then, he accomplished his community-based training on Trainers Methodology Level I at Regional Training Center–KorPhil in Buhisan, Tibungco, Davao City. After his productive stints at TESDA, he continued his application for the Agro-studies internship grant in Israel. All his hardships paid off when his name was listed among the successful applicants. On October 21, 2022, he flew to Israel together with other young agriculturists.  

He shared, “Although the training is still ongoing, I can observe a big difference of improvement in terms of knowledge, and I am positive that it elevates my confidence–it equipped me with agriculture principles. I think there is a gap between the knowledge that is being taught in the Philippine Academes compared to the Israel Agro-studies. But in terms of hands-on skills, TESDA can cope with international practice.”

He added that the most remarkable experience he had from the Agro-studies was the field trips in demo farms, where they could see the operations and production protocol of different farms and be able to understand the topics taught through actual demonstrations. Plus, the experience of working with different people coming from different nations and cultures.

The Agro-studies run for eleven months and provide a unique internship training in agriculture, combining advanced studies and based on the ‘learning by doing’ method in various agricultural fields.

After his internship, he plans to venture into the propagation production of herbs and ornamental plants, just like from the farm he worked with. Also, he sees himself in teaching and transferring the knowledge he gained to other people, especially the youth.

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