Thursday, May 9, 2019

Philippine Department of Agriculture strengthens support for the nationwide deployment of Rice Crop Manager

Digitally enabled agricultural advisory services supported by decades of strong science-based evidence can help accelerate agricultural development. The  Rice Crop Manager (RCM) serves as an exemplar in this era of leveraging the power of digital technology to deliver agricultural information into the hands of those who need it the most.

Since 2013, RCM has generated more than 1.85 million science-based recommendations to rice farmers on integrated crop management for the optimal use of agricultural resources for increased yield and profit. Based on the monitoring, evaluation and learning activity conducted in 2018 for large-scale dissemination of RCM, farmers who followed the recommendations increased their yield by an average of 640 kg per hectare compared with those who did not follow. Moreover, these same farmers had an average added net benefit of PhP 11,146 per hectare than those who did not follow the RCM recommendations.

These promising results intensify the need to  promote this technology and make it easily available and accessible to more Filipino farmers and extension staff.

To reach this goal, the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Bureau of Agricultural Research and Agricultural Training Institute funded the project, “Rice Crop Manager Philippines Phase 3: Transition to Operational Sustainability for Research and Dissemination from IRRI to DA”. Over the next three years, IRRI and key DA agencies will join efforts to smoothly transition the operation, improvement and deployment of RCM to the government.  The project, which supports the Philippines’ national rice program, contains work packages designed to strengthen the capacity and institutional readiness for the integration and transition of RCM research, operations, and IT processes within the appropriate DA agencies towards full interoperability.

“It is important to ensure that our national institutional partners are ready to manage and operate this technology so it is sustainable for years to come,” said Carolyn Florey, RCM project leader and IRRI Technology for Development Lead. “We will continue to work in partnership to identify ways to deploy RCM on a wider scale in order to realize its potential to improve the livelihoods of our rice farmers.”

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