September 29, 2020

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The Philippine’s smart agri-project gets funding boost

Agricultural development in Western Visayas through the Smart Agriculture System Project (SASP), which was presented virtually on 11 September, has garnered support from the Korean government.

According to a press release, SASP aims to increase agricultural productivity and income through smart agriculture farming systems using an information and communications technology (ICT)-based model. It will assess the region’s smart agriculture technology adoption, and the results will be utilised to craft a smart agriculture roadmap.

The project, set to begin in 2022, will need multi-million funding from the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) Official Development Assistance (ODA), the Department of Agriculture (DA)-6 Regional Executive Director, Remelyn R. Recoter, stated.

Representatives from both sides discussed and evaluated the proposal, which will be submitted to KOICA Headquarters this September. KOICA tapped Korean Consultants and Olanday’s technical expertise in formulating the project concept, which will be advantageous to high-value crops farmers of the region.

To effectively transfer the technologies down to the grassroots, the project will also include the capacity development component for agricultural extension workers and farmer intermediaries for the establishment of smart agricultural technology in lowland and upland areas with and without electricity. As the project will not solely focus on the production aspect, strategies will also be employed to enable high-value crops farmers’ profitability through ICT-based marketing.

SASP will be implemented in three phases. Several units of smart greenhouses with nurseries and storage facilities for the top five high-value crop commodities of Western Visayas will be set up in the target provinces in the second phase of the project implementation. The Regional Program Management Committee shall create a completion plan to ensure that SASP will remain operational and sustainable even beyond the project timeline.

The Smart Agriculture System Project will complement the KOICA’s Panay Island Upland-Sustainable Rural Development Project (PIU-SRDP) Bayanihan Tipon Centres and Local Food Terminal, the release noted. The project is expected to be as successful as PIU-SRDP, which made significant refinement in the production and marketing symptoms of highland agricultural products in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo.

Food is a vital commodity especially now as the country deals with the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is DA’s mission to provide farmers with the latest technology in crop production. This can be achieved through a partnership with industry stakeholders.

In June, DA, Caraga, in collaboration with the Rice Productivity Advocacy Incorporated (Rice Board) and the local government unit (LGU) of Butuan, announced the 11th National Rice Technology Forum (NRTF).

As OpenGov Asia reported, DA continuously intensifies its campaign for the adoption of hybrid rice technology among local farmers. This is to encourage farmers to adopt new technologies by showcasing the best farming equipment through the collective efforts by the national government, LGUs, farmers, and the private sector.

A technology demonstration was established in the three barangays in Butuan City, namely Lemon, Basag, and Ampayon, covering a total area of 100 hectares. With around 40 participating farmer cooperators, the demo farms were established in collaboration with the agri-companies.