PRO­MOT­ING IN­TE­GRATED SO­LU­TIONS FOR FU­TURE FARM­ING SCE­NAR­IOS

Agriculture - - Unique -

WHILE NO ONE HAS, as of yet, gone to the fu­ture, one or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Philip­pine Rice Re­search In­sti­tute of PhilRice, is pre­par­ing for three im­mi­nent events: the peak oil phe­nom­e­non, the glob­al­iza­tion of the rice trade, and cli­mate change. In th­ese fu­ture sce­nar­ios, rice farm­ing will be in­creas­ingly com­plex and will re­quire al­ter­na­tive farm­ing tech­niques and high-tech so­lu­tions to meet the challenges pre­sented by global com­pe­ti­tion and a chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

PhilRice’s Fu­tureRice pro­gram en­deav­ors to demon­strate in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies that will help Filipinos pre­pare for the fu­ture. Key to this is knowl­edge man­age­ment, which in­volves on­line in­ven­tory and as­sess­ment of lo­cal and global in­no­va­tions that have practical value for our farm­ers. Their ini­tial pub­li­ca­tion, en­ti­tled “Agri­tourism Farms of the Philip­pines,” fo­cused on nine niche farms in Lu­zon and Min­danao, which ad­vo­cate the use of nat­u­ral and al­ter­na­tive farm­ing tech­niques, care for the en­vi­ron­ment, safe food, and farm ex­pe­ri­ence. Farm­ers, ex­ten­sion work­ers, pol­icy mak­ers, and the youth can draw in­spi­ra­tion from th­ese farms.

In or­der to demon­strate lo­cal and global rice in­no­va­tions for the fu­ture, a 5-hectare farm was de­vel­oped within the PhilRice Cen­tral Ex­per­i­ment Sta­tion (CES) to in­te­grate nat­u­ral farm­ing, high-tech farm­ing, clean and al­ter­na­tive en­ergy, and wa­ter har­vest­ing in­no­va­tions. Strate­gi­cally lo­cated along the farm­ing com­mu­nity road, the farm’s de­vel­op­ment was sup­ported by

the lo­cal gov­ern­ment of Nueva Ecija, AGFUND (Arab Gulf Pro­gramme for De­vel­op­ment), Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture Re­gional Field Of­fice 3 RFO-3, and DA-FSSP (Food Sta­ples Suf­fi­ciency Pro­gram).

Farm­ers from nearby barangays visit the farm dur­ing demon­stra­tions of plant­ing and har­vest­ing ma­chines, and join Agrikapi­han ses­sions on var­i­ous farm­ing top­ics. More than 3,000 farm­ers have seen vis­ited the farm through the Lak­bay Palay an­nual field day ac­tiv­ity of PhilRice. In 2015, the farm be­came the Rice Boot Camp of the new gen­er­a­tion of rice ex­ten­sion work­ers—called AgriDocs—im­ple­mented by Project IPaD (Im­prov­ing Tech­nol­ogy Pro­mo­tion and De­liv­ery through Ca­pa­bil­ity En­hance­ment of the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Rice Ex­ten­sion Pro­fes­sion­als and In­ter­me­di­aries).

The farm serves as the con­verg­ing point and test bed of var­i­ous in­no­va­tions. PhilRice does have nat­u­ral farm­ing prac­tices

AgriDocs, visi­tors, stu­dents, farm­ers, and agri­cul­ture stake­hold­ers come to the Fu­tureRice farm to learn and see the show­cased tech­nolo­gies and smart farm­ing in­no­va­tions.

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