Research and training agencies in the country are banking on the potential of agricultural input suppliers in Region III as intermediaries or partners in disseminating rice information and technologies.
In an activity, more than 100 seed sellers, farm machine dealers, and representatives from credit companies toured around Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to be updated on farm practices, technologies, and trends. PhilRice, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) sponsored the entrepreneurs` first organized tour on rice farming, Oct. 8-9.
“This group has been doing extension work in their own ways, but we have not harnessed their strategic presence in the field. With only about 2,300 full-time government rice extension workers and more than two million farmers, we really need to explore, engage, and equip more rice extension intermediaries so that our farmers would benefit from the findings of research,” Dr. Karen Eloisa Barroga, activity lead said.
To engage the agri input providers, the activity highlighted the growing need to help the farmers amidst looming threats of greater trade liberalization and urbanization and declining number of farmers and agricultural extension workers in the country.
They were briefed on online tools such Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank, Minus-One Element Technique App, Text Center, Rice Knowledge Bank, and Rice Crop Manager.
Weed Identification Tool, Rice Doctor, E-extension, and Farmers` Contact Center were also presented and tried by the group.
In turn, the entrepreneurs pledged in a commitment ceremony that they will do more for the farmers.
Abundio Quililan, president and CEO of the New Rural Bank of San Leonardo, Inc., said that they will share the text center numbers to their 50,000 farmer-clients and invite resource speakers from PhilRice, ATI, and IRRI to their rice training programs.
The activity is part of the project on Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery through Capability Enhancement of Next-Gen Rice Extension Professionals and Other Intermediaries (IPaD). IPaD is a project under the DA-National Rice Program and funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research.