Jovita M. Agrito : Retired Yet Still Admired
“KURACHA” is how her co-workers call her. It’s a Filipino name for a woman who never rests like her.
Even at 65, Jovita Mortega Agrito is still Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology’s (PhiISCAT) coordinator in the Bicol Region for the technology demonstration of Chinese hybrid rice varieties (CHRVs). She has contributed to the smooth implementation of this Phi1SCAT project in Bicol for three years.
Everybody who knows her fondly call her Agrito or Mrs. Agrito. She is still full of vigor and enthusiasm. She is bubbly, speaks her mind, and spurs positive vibe. She is information.
This senior agriculturist at the Regional Field Unit IV of the Department of Agriculture based in Pili, Camarines Sur took up Associate in Agriculture at the Roxas Memorial Agricultural School (now Bicol University) in 1961 and graduated Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1966 at the Araneta University in Malabon, Rizal.
Right after graduation, she worked as Rural Youth Officer for eight years at the Bureau of Agricultural Extension (BAEx) during which she handled the developing of talents of students and out-of-school youth both in the areas of agriculture and economics through the 4H Club. She was able to send 10 4H Club members to work in different Asian countries through the Philippine Agricultural Training Program of the Agricultural Productivity Commission of BAEx. Her accomplishments were recognized when she was awarded Most Outstanding Rural Youth Officer of Region V.
In 1975, she was promoted as farm management technician where she helped farmers in loan operation and handled farmers’ extension classes in coordination with other agencies. “I see to it that I disseminate information on new technologies even to remote areas; I am also the one in charge of developing farm families particularly in the municipality of Bula,” Agrito said. Her dedication again paid off when she was named Most Outstanding Farm Management Technician.
From holding the position Agriculturist II in 1981, she rose to her present position as Senior Agriculturist in May 2002. She is also core staff for extension at the Regional Integrated Agricultural Services (RIARS). This position made her even more active in coordinating with local government units and dealing with all sorts of people to convey information on a particular technology.
Agrito was also assigned as action officer for the Hybrid Rice Program when the GMA Rice Program was in full swing. Being this, she coordinated the promotion of hybrid rice production in the region and conducted research and adaptability trials.
HER PHILSCAT TECHNO-DEMO EXPERIENCE
“I learned a lot from the Chinese technology on rice farming and when I promote a technology I see to it that I adopt it myself,” Agrito says.
One of the Chinese technologies that she thinks should be adopted by farmers is seed soaking where seeds are soaked in water with 10 g of Multi-effect Triazole (MET) in every 5 kg of seeds for 6 hours, washed then soaked again for another 6 hours. Seeds are incubated at room temperature, turned over every 2 hours and kept moist by sprinkling water until the seeds start to break or until the roots have extended to 1 mm.
She also mentioned about the timely water management and pest control employed in Chinese hybrid rice production. Another is the application of fertilizer 7 days after seed sowing. These farm management techniques, Agrito said, contribute to a significant increase in yield.
“I am very thankful of the new things I’ve learned and be able to share to farmers because of PhilSCAT,” Agrito said. She also added that the Phi1SCAT staff she worked with are very accommodating and kind, making coordination for the project easier.
A POSITIVE VIBE INDUCER
“She is a boss who never downgrades her subordinates.”
That was such a flattering statement that made Agrito smile. Her face lightened up like all her efforts have just been rewarded.
The sincere statement came from Pedro Oliver, her staff whom she recommended to take her place as PhilSCAT counterpart in the demonstration of CHRVs. Also as diligent as his successor and former boss, Oliver said that Agrito is a natural-born leader, someone who lives up to the role of a good mother to her staff, and a person who is never selfish to share her blessings.
Agriculturists Maria Fiel Britanico and Arlene Sanbuenaventura agree with Oliver and said that Agrito is a person who always has a positive outlook in life and is always happy. Her bubbly and positive character creates a friendly ambience in their office.
Agrito planned to retire at 60 but she was sent to China for a season-long training. She turned 65 a day after Valentine’s Day this year. It was the official day of her retirement from government service but given the choice, she wouldn’t retire; her dynamic persona just couldn’t imagine that her workload is now getting lighter.
“I am happy when I help farmers and see them grow. I feel a deeper sense of happiness and contentment,” she says.
Her passion and dedication for work can not be contested. She is one woman who gained credibility for what she does, proven by the presence of heads of agencies that she was able to convene during field days. She is a public servant who is always available to cater the needs of her clients at all times.
She’s about to end a more-than-40-year government service, but her legacy to farmers who gained equal gusto in their profession is an indelible mark. She is Kuracha to many and she would always remain as dependable as she is.