Manila, Philippines: The Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippines, seeks partnership for a proposed cheap Pinoy tablet computer that will advance agricultural entrepreneurship by empowering farmers with critical information such as soil nutrients and farm goods markets. The tablet computer will provide 24/7 access to the Internet focussing on vital farm information (possibly blocking entertainment sites) and GIS.
The DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), together with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), aims to develop a very affordable tablet computer that will give DA’s extension workers – technicians that educate farmers – ubiquitous access to critical farm information.
The GIS will be pivotal in enabling farmers to determine whether the crop they are planting in a particular location is suitable to that location. It will help them determine if the type of soil needs certain types of fertilizer, or whether water or moisture needed in plant growth may be sufficient in their farm area.
“We have an idea to revolutionise Philippine agriculture. We’re bringing a proof of concept tapping the power of Information Technology so we can inform farmers well. There’s no other than the DA (led by Sec. Proceso Alcala) that’s leading in enhancing the welfare of the farming community in the country,” said Dr. William D. Dar, ICRISAT director general.
ICRISAT’s network in India where Dar, a former DA secretary, is based will extend the Philippines assistance in fabricating the hardware, for the tablet PC. ICRISAT provides the facility of Agropedia, a farm management system that helps Indian farmers.
“When I first saw Agropedia in India, I thought it’s really revolutionary. It will be a giant leap for us in sharing experts’ information and practical knowledge between us and our farmers. We don’t want to miss the train. We will seek enough support for it to be approved,” said ITCAF director Gary Glenn B. Fantastico.