Written by the Web Team
Rodrigo Tarangco, a farmer in San Nicolas, Pangasinan, was busy using his cellphone while in a lecture and got impatient when the wi-fi connection in the training room became unstable.
“Ang bagal naman ng connection (Why, connection is rather slow)!,” he said.
The lecturer from International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) heard him but was not offended by his use of cellphone. She took it as farmers’ eagerness to try the Nutrient Manager, a web-based device used in rice farming.
Tarangco is among the 135 farmers in rainfed areas recently trained by IRRI and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) on using the Internet and mobile phone to improve their access on agricultural technologies. Series of trainings were held, Sept and Oct, in San Nicolas, Pangasinan; Pura and Victoria, Tarlac, and Gen. Tinio, Nueva Ecija.
To use the web-based device, farmers will answer 15 questions in the Nutrient Manager page (http://webapps.irri.org/nm/ph/). The Nutrient Manager, which is available in English, Filipino, Iluko, Cebunano, Hiligaynon, and Bikolano, will process the answers and release recommendation in about a minute.
“I spend more than P5,000 on fertilizer. Through the Nutrient Manager, I learned that I only need to apply two bags of ammonium phosphate, which would cost about P2,000, come dry season,” the farmer in his 50s said.
Tarangco added that the Nutrient Manager is easy to use as it only takes few clicks to get the recommendation.
IRRI assistant scientist Niño Paul Meynard Banayo said fertilizer contributes 20 percent of the total rice production cost, following labor at 60 percent.
“With fertilizer getting expensive and the need to increase yield, we could help farmers by advising them on the right time and amount of applying nutrients. The Nutrient Manager features site-specific recommendations generated from 15 years of research in Asia,” Banayo said.
Banayo said the site-specific nutrient recommendations were found to help increase yield, augment profit, and protect the environment.
The training on Nutrient Manager is part of the Improving livelihoods and overcoming poverty in the drought-prone lowlands of South and Southeast Asia project funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development.