Written by the Web Team
Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) had tapped the potential of youth in Aurora to serve as infomediaries, or people who help others access information, through a three-day training at PhilRice Central Experiment Station in Nueva Ecija, May 7-9.
Composing the core group of the Sagot ko ang magulang ko, a campaign to mobilize the Filipino youth to serve as infomediaries, 34 students from Maria Aurora National High School and Bayanihan National High School were introduced to information and communications technology-based modes in information delivery such as the Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank (PRKB) and the PhilRice Text Center (PTC).
To be pilot-tested until December this year, the campaign centers on mobilizing the youth to perform infomediary roles for their farmer-parents.
“There is a wealth of information from the publications and websites of our agricultural research institutions. The question, however, is how do we effectively bring them to rice farmers, particularly those in the uplands?,” Jaime A Manalo IV, campaign team lead, said.
Manalo, a development communication specialist, said that the infomediary campaign banks on the idea that farmers’ children converge in schools.
“The schools will serve as nucleus for extension, which can provide a viable solution to the difficulty in reaching farmers in far flung areas,” he said.
The PRKB (www.pinoyrkb.com) contains most information on rice farming in the Philippines and contains downloadable materials such as videos and powerpoint presentations on yield-enhancing and cost-reducing technologies in rice farming.
With text center agents responding to roughly about 300 messages daily, PTC (0920-911-1398), meanwhile, is the farmers’ helpline on field.
The participants also had first-hand experience on rice farming to introduce them to more efficient practices in agriculture such as modified dapog method.
“Modified dapog method allows lesser seeding rate. Farmers only need about 25 kg per hectare using dapog. It is way lower than the 40 kg recommendation for transplanted rice,” Fredierick Saludez, campaign team member and a registered agriculturist, informed the youth-participants.
Saludez added that the method is suitable in the area with its oftentimes rainy weather.
“When it rains the tendency to wash away seeds is high so this method may prove applicable in Aurora,” Saludez said.
The infomediary campaign team also uses the social media to better communicate with the students when they return to Aurora.
Manalo said the students can also use the social media in posting photos of damaged and infected rice plants. The photos will then be forwarded to PhilRice crop experts for diagnosis.
“We had a great time here. I will relay to my friends everything that I learned here,” Jon-jon Casallo, one of the participants, said.
Meanwhile, Marilano Agno, teacher at Bayanihan National High School said that they had a very fruitful time at PhilRice.
“I will certainly tell my co-teachers and students about this,” Agno said.
The participants also toured around other Science City institutions such as Philippine Carabao Center, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and Central Luzon State University.