Historical Background PDF Print E-mail

Extension is one of the four-fold functions of the University of Southern Mindanao. Along with research and agro-industrial production, extension is supportive of the University's main function of instruction.

As soon as the Mindanao Institute of Technology (MIT), now the University of Southern Mindanao, was opened, extension was already recognized as one of its functions, being a state land grant college. However, there was no formal structure yet. Extension was performed mostly upon request of organized groups and individual end-users of farm technologies. The head of the Agriculture Department and later on, chairman of the Agricultural Education and Extension Department was in-charge of the extension services. Most of the extension services were focused on the distribution of planting materials (seeds and seedlings), either free of charge or at a minimal cost.

It was during the first decade of MIT's existence that rubber planting was popularized under the administrative leadership of MIT President, Dominador D. Clemente, who took over the helm of the administration in 1958. He initiated the establishment and expansion of a rubber nursery. New high yielding clones were imported from Malaysia. Later on, planters from as far as Zamboanga Provinces procured budded seedlings from MIT. Correspondingly, rubber technicians were requested from the College to assist in establishing rubber plantations elsewhere in Mindanao. As a support mechanism, a one-year post-secondary curriculum on Rubber Technology was instituted. Graduates of that curriculum were in high demand as a result of the expanding rubber plantations in Mindanao.

As part of academic work, field laboratory in the course, "Methods of Extension", was undertaken by the students in nearby barangays under the guidance of their professor.

Towards a Formal Extension Program

Extension was formalized with the advent of the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) program entitled, "Strengthening Agricultural Education at the Mindanao Institute of Technology." This was a five-year UNESCO assisted program from 1965 to 1970. The UNESCO Team included extension and farm management experts and other supportive personnel, with specialization in agronomy, animal science, engineering, home economics and farm mechanization. With local counterparts from among the faculty, extension projects were set up in some selected barangays. In some instances, the local extension staff counterparts took over and continued the extension activities set up by the UNESCO in the selected barangays.

The other catalysis of extension with which the MIT forged working linkage were the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Agriculture (SEARCA); National Manpower and Youth Council (NMYC); Agricultural Education Outreach Program (AEOP), and others.

In connection with the voluntary rural services required by the government, a community-centered outreach program dubbed as, "Project BEAUTIFULL", was undertaken by USM key personnel at Barangay Sagcongan, President Roxas, North Cotabato.

The USM-SEARCA Social Laboratory, a five-year assisted program, was a replication of the SEARCA pilot program in Pila, Laguna, in cooperation with the extension unit of the University of the Philippines at Los Banos, Laguna (UPLB) .

The USM-SEARCA Social Laboratory was implemented in the selected barangays of Bannawag, Dagupan, and Upper Paatan. Being a comprehensive development program, the social laboratory was implemented by a technical team composed of agronomists, animal husbandmen, and agricultural economists.

The NMYC-assisted Project was entitled, "National Agricultural Skills Training Project (NASTP)". The beneficiaries included out-of-school youths and adults in Barangays Cuyapon and Magatos in Kabacan, and New Antique in Mlang, Cotabato.

The AEOP, a USAID-assisted project, was a tie-up development program between USM and the then Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) which benefited farmer leaders and out-of-school youths. Practicum students were also involved by assigning each of them to a farmer cooperator in the preparation of farm budget and in farm management.

Organized groups invariably requested in-campus training and seminars on various subjects at varying periods. This scheme of extension activity was undertaken in close coordination with the Regional Training Center for Rural Development (RTC-RD), now the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). In cases, training programs were funded by sponsoring agencies, either local or foreign. Lecturers or resource persons in agriculture and social sciences were tapped from among the USM faculty.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 November 2015 12:59
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