PROMOTING INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS FOR FUTURE FARMING SCENARIOS
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.