Thursday, November 22, 2018

PRISM, a great advantage

At the 5th Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) convention, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol, through a message read by his representative Assistant Secretary Andrew Villacorta, highlighted the government’s aim to provide affordable food for the people  by investing in research and development of modern technologies.

In Sec. Piñol’s keynote message, he stated “An information system on rice is a big step for us to achieve our goal of rice food security accompanied by enhancing the industry’s competitiveness.” He acknowledged PRISM for providing the agriculture department with timely information on rice areas, production, yield estimate and other factors affecting it, and for helping regional field offices in enhancing their capability in ground data collection, data management, geographic information systems, and other relevant skills.

In a message delivered by IRRI Chief of Staff Peter Brothers, IRRI Director General Matthew Morrell commended the collaboration among the agencies behind PRISM as they worked to create and translate sound science into useful, practical innovations to improve the quality of life of those who depend on rice and to ensure environmental sustainability. Moreover, he said that this initiative has served as a model for other countries in Asia to demonstrate how satellite-based rice monitoring systems can boost progress in the agricultural sector.

According to Dr. Sailila Abdula, PhilRice Acting Executive Director, PRISM has revolutionized the way rice data and information are gathered, stored and shared in the Philippines. He emphasized that PRISM will continue to improve the methods so that everyone can take advantage and maximize the use of the information as a way of honoring the efforts of each and every one who worked hard to achieve the objectives of the project.

Since its inception, PRISM has generated semestral maps and data on rice area with overall accuracies ranging from 85% to 93% based on over 1,000 ground observations by partners from the DA Regional Field Offices and local government units across country. In addition, start-of-season maps and yield estimates have also been generated every semester and damage assessments from typhoons, flood, and drought have also been conducted which can be used for rapid decision-making on emergency response, planning and implementation of rehabilitation programs.

The PRISM National Convention was held last 12 November in Manila and was attended by officials and staff from the Department of Agriculture and its Regional Field Offices, PhilRice, IRRI and other project partners.PRISM was initiated in October 2013 through the collaborative effort of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Swiss private company sarmap and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). It is now under the full management of DA through the establishment of the PRISM Unit based at PhilRice.

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