Written by the Web Team
Extension workers in the three regions in the country consider the Nutrient Manager for Rice (http://webapps.irri.org/nm/ph/) as a useful tool in helping farmers reduce their farm expenses by 50 percent.
Nutrient Manager is a computer-based decision support tool featuring fertilizer recommendations based on farmers’ field conditions, varieties, and current practices.
Crispulo Bautista Jr, Regional Technical Director for Operation and Extension in Region III, said that the Nutrient Manager will benefit farmers in the rainfed areas who usually spend P5,000 on fertilizers in a season.
“I`m confident that farmers will not spend more than P3,000 on fertilizers should they apply the recommendations in the Nutrient Manager. I encourage the extension workers to help the farmers access this new tool because this will also help them increase their income,” Bautista said during the recent series of ICT skill training for the extension workers in Regions I, II, and III.
Dr. Nenita Desamero, training lead, said the Nutrient Manager is the product of a 15-year research on site-specific nutrient management.
“Recommendations in the Nutrient Manager are based on very extensive studies conducted in different locations in the country. In spite of the complexity in research, extension workers and farmers will only have to answer 15 questions either in English, Filipino, Iluko, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Bikolano. The Nutrient Manager will release its recommendation in about a minute,” Desamero said.
Meanwhile, Charisma Love Gado, one of the project researchers, found in her survey that the extension workers perceived the Nutrient Manager as beneficial to the farmers and that its recommendations are reliable.
Despite their lack of skills in navigating the Internet and old age, extension workers also said that the Nutrient Manager is easy to use, and the questions are easy for them and the farmers to understand.
“In spite of its novelty, preference towards the Nutrient Manager is surprisingly quite higher than the other tools used in identifying the right amount and time of applying fertilizers,” she said.
The training on Nutrient Manager for the extension workers is funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development and conducted by the International Rice Research Institute and Philippine Rice Research Institute. It is a part of the Improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty in the drought-prone lowlands of Southeast Asia project in the Philippines.