Friday, September 2, 2016

GIS skills of Philippine agriculture field officers sharpened

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines—The Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) project is conducting a series of workshops on basic geographic information systems (GIS) for its regional partners. Funded by the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), the activity trains field officers and local government units in visualizing rice area and yield, GPS-based field observations, and other data generated by PRISM for planning programs and interventions for the country’s rice sector.

The training (photos above) is enhancing the skills of DA-Regional Field Offices and local government units (LGU) staff in using QGIS, a free and open source GIS software. The workshop uses actual data collected at PRISM monitoring sites throughout the country.

At the end of each season, PRISM generates accurate and timely information on rice areas, the start of cropping seasons, and rice yield that can help the national government and the rice-growing regions develop policies and plans related to rice production, particularly in mitigating the impacts of natural calamities and reducing yield losses caused by pests. Around 19 tropical cyclones or storms enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility every year, and of these, usually 6 to 9 make landfall causing considerable crop damage. The information collected by PRISM is available through its portal.

The training helps in understanding the value of presenting data in map format, according to a workshop participant.

"The training is useful in data processing and analysis," added another enthusiastic participant. “The information generated will serve as the basis for decision-making, evaluation, and development of rice projects.”

The Basic GIS Training was held in July and August for DA representatives from:
12-14 July: DA-RFO IX and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM), which was held in Laguna
19-21 July: DA-RFOs I and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in La Union
19-21 July: DA-RFOs VI and Negros Island Region (NIR) in Iloilo City
26-28 July: DA-RFOs V, VII, and VIII in Cebu City
9-11 August: DA-RFOs X, XI, and XII in Davao City
16-18 August: DA-RFO’s IV and IVB in Tagaytay City
23-25 August: DA-RFO III in Pampanga
23-25 August: DA-RFO II in Tuguegarao City
23-25 August: Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) facilitators in Nueva Ecija

The remaining workshops will be held in September and October 2016 for DA-RFO XIII and PRISM crop health specialists, respectively.

The workshops are being conducted by PRISM staff from the International Rice Research Institute(IRRI) and PhilRice. The lead trainers from IRRI are Arnel Rala, Cornelia Garcia, Aileen Maunahan, and  Jeny Raviz. The PhilRice trainers are Mary Rose Mabalay, Juanito Maloom, Elmer Alosnos, Mabel Barroga, and James Leyte. 

Mary Anne Gutierrez, Jane Girly Balanza, Neale Marvin Paguirigan, Creigton Czar Guevarra, Ethel Princess Banasihan, and Frances Grace Amanquiton are co-facilitating the training series.

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