Rice farmers can easily manage their fields with the aid of Rice Crop Manager (RCM), an internet-based software that is currently being disseminated to farmers in rainfed lowland rice areas.
Funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, RCM is a location-specific decision support software that helps farmers calculate the right kind and amount of fertilizer needed in their rice fields.
The project, “Improving Livelihood and Overcoming Poverty in the Drought-Prone Lowlands in South and Southeast Asia,” promotes RCM in Regions I, II, and III.
“The use of this software is free of charge. Users only need internet connection. By honestly answering the 20 questions, they will be given recommendations specified for their farms,” Dr. Nenita Desamero, project leader based at the Philippine Rice Research Institute, said.
Francisco Collado Jr, municipal agriculturist of Umingan, Pangasinan, however, said that farmers’ ICT-based skill must be enhanced so they can benefit from the software.
To address issues on farmers’ internet access, Desamero said that aside from relying on the municipality’s few Agricultural Technologists, farmers’ children or grandchildren who know how to use the internet may help them the ICT-based challenges of farmers.
In a field day conducted in Pangasinan, farmers said that tapping their family’s young members is a solution to their limited internet access.
“I will ask my children to help me use RCM so that even without the aid of the ATs, I will still be able to get recommendations for my farm,” said Sammy Serdeniola, a farmer from Diket, Umingan.
Rolando Espano, a barangay official and a farmer for 20 years agrees with Serdeniola.
“I need to try this new technology with the help of my children. I have to see if it really works for my farm. I will do everything so I will not spend money unnecessarily for my rice field,” he said.
RCM subsumed NMR, as one of the major entry points in implementing the project, when it was launched in November 2013.
The project is also implemented in Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia.