Friday, May 22, 2015

Indonesia: Extensionists and researchers discuss strategy for promoting weather info app to farmers

Developers behind an innovative app for increasing rice production by providing farmers with accurate weather prediction met with researchers and extensionists in Ungaran, Pati, and Rembang to discuss the best way of disseminating the technology.

The Weather-Rice-Nutrient integrated Decision Support System (WeRise) is a seasonal weather forecast–based decision support system for intensifying rainfed rice production in Southeast Asia.  WeRise could help farmers in their crop production decisions by providing crucial weather information such as the start and end of the rainy season and distribution of rainfall during a cropping season. It also gives advisories on the best time to sow and transplant, what appropriate rice varieties to plant, and efficient application fertilizer and other inputs efficiently.

The meetings were also an opportunity to introduce the apps to new users and get feedback from pilot users for further improvements taking into account the local context. Local extensionists recognized sowing timing as one of the crucial information lacking in the current system. They found WeRise a promising tool because it can also predict rice yield based on sowing date and variety used. Aside from being easy to use and understand, extensionists found it easy to explain to local farmers.

The International Rice Research Institute-Japan Collaborative Research Project on Climate Change Adaptation in Rainfed Rice Areas (CCARA) in cooperation with the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology (AIAT) Central Java, Indonesia conducted the meetings on 21-23 April 2015.

Dr. Keiichi Hayashi, CCARA project coordinator presented an overview of the CCARA project and facilitated the discussions. Ms. Sri Rustini, Researcher at AIAT Central Java discussed the objectives of the meeting and mechanics of the discussions and demonstrated how to navigate WeRise.

A total of 45 extensionists and 6 researchers from AIAT Central Java, Agricultural and Livestock Agency of Pati, and Food Security Agency and Office of Implementing Extension for Agricultural, Fisheries, and Forestry of Rembang District participated in the meetings.

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