Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Philippines: Farmers and children train on NM Rice

A series of training events on Nutrient Manager for Rice (NM Rice) was held for farmers and their children in four rainfed lowland rice-farming areas in the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija in the Philippines.

These were conducted under the project Improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty in the drought‐prone lowlands of Southeast Asia funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

“This was a series of on-farm activities where LGUs, farmers, and their children are taught how to access NM Rice, a decision support tool that upholds the site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) approach to judicious and efficient application of fertilizer,” explains Stephan Haefele (IRRI scientist, IFAD principal investigator, and CURE Working Group leader for drought-prone rice environments).

The new NM Rice is an interactive decision tool that caters to irrigated and lowland rainfed ecosystem. It aims to help rice farmers in these areas improve the growth and yield of their crop through on-farm validation and the development of a nutrient management technology using a combination of improved rice technologies for different ecosystems. NM provides a fertilizer guideline for a rice field based on responses to easy-to-answer questions and is accessible through the Internet on personal computers, mobile phones, and smartphones.

NM Rice was initially distributed through CDs, but we soon realized that extension workers and farmers can be reached faster through the Internet or mobile phones,” Haefele added.

The training team, composed of Dr. Haefele and Niño Paul Meynard Banayo and Ranee Christina Mabesa (IRRI assistant scientists for soil-agronomy) facilitated the training series, held for local government units and farmers and their children, from June to October 2012 in Pura and Victoria, Tarlac; San Nicolas, Pangasinan; and General Tinio, Nueva Ecija.

The series of capacity enhancement activities was held in collaboration with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). The IFAD Philippines team, headed by Haefele, are now looking at upscaling the application through its adoption by the local governments of Pura, Victoria, San Nicolas, General Tinio, and other lowland rainfed areas in the Philippines.

Nutrient Manager for Rice was developed by the team of Roland Buresh, IRRI's principal scientist and nutrient management expert.

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