One strategy to attract the youth to venture in rice farming is to strengthen their awareness of the latest ICT tools in modern agriculture.
On November 15, 2016, ICT experts gathered at PhilRice to inspire more than a hundred graduating students from five universities to venture in agricultural ICT.
The 3rd Agrihackathon Symposium showcased the full utilization of ICT in agriculture.
“Where else can we find the next noble ideas and ICT innovations in agriculture than in our youth,” said Dr. Flordeliza Bordey, PhilRice deputy executive director for development.
“We are encouraging IT students to produce a number of ICT tools to speed up the modernization of rice farming in our country,” Bordey added.
Guest speaker Engr. Franch Maverick Lorilla from CloudFarm Innovations, an agri-tech company in Davao City, also discussed business startups on agricultural ICT.
“We can be techno-preneurs and create machinery, software, applications, sensors, knowledge banks, and many other tools to help our farmers,” Lorilla explained.
Lorilla is the co-creator of the Heat Stress Analyzer, a smart sensor and app that helps farmers maximize their yield through advance monitoring and analytics of the crop condition.
The participants also learned about the existing ICT tools used by PhilRice such as the PhilRice Text Center, Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank (PRKB), Rice Crop Manager (RCM), Minus One Element Technique App (MOET), Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM), and the Rice Doctor diagnostic tool app.
“I appreciate that there are already existing ICT tools to help our farmers. I feel motivated since future ICT practitioners like us have the potential to contribute in advancing the agriculture sector in our country,” said Carl Angelo Dallo, a student from Central Luzon State University (CLSU).
Dr. Jasper Tallada of PhilRice, mentioned infrared imagery, vertical farming, hydroponics, drones, and satellite farming, as among the modern ICT tools for agriculture.
Drones are used in rice farming for research activities such as data collection, tracking growth patterns, and pest and nutrient management.
Vertical farming and hydroponics, on the other hand, are used to produce crops without relying on favorable weather, high soil fertility or high water usage.
Infrared imagery helps researchers in analyzing rice leaf nitrogen. This versatile technology, known to analyze data in less than 1 minute, has potential for soil, chemical, and grain quality analysis.
Satellite farming is used for yield mapping, monitoring, crop health assessment, and damage assessment during calamities. It provides a continual source of information, regardless of weather conditions.
Aside from CLSU, the student participants come from Pampanga State Agricultural University, Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology, College for Research and Technology in Cabanatuan, and Pangasinan State University.