FCC, e-Learning among ICT Information Tools Featured Among Rice Extension Intermediaries

Rice Extension Intermediaries briefed on the various ICT-based tools inculding e-Learning and FCC

MUNOZ, Nueva Ecija – There are two million farmers in the Philippines but only about 3,000 full-time rice extension workers serving the information and technology needs of these farmers. This clearly indicates a shortage of rice extension workers and as a result, lack of information on new technologies for farmers is prevalent.

In an effort to augment the shortage of extension workers and enhance the provision of information for the rice farmers in the country, the Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) together with International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) launched the project called “Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery through Capability Enhancement of the Next-Generation of Rice Extension Professionals and Intermediaries” also known as IPaD Project.

The project mainly aims to recognize and capacitate the rice input dealers to be a part of the agricultural extension system and eventually help the government in reaching the rice farmers especially in the countryside. These input dealers will ultimately be identified as rice extension intermediaries (REIs).

“Our farmers also rely on these input dealers as a source of information that is why we should involve them in the extension of rice,” said Dr. Karen Eloisa Barroga, the project leader of IPaD.

With this in mind, a Knowledge Sharing and Learning (KSL) activity was conducted to provide these REIs with the latest information and technologies on rice, some available ICT-based resources and tools on rice and agriculture as well as opportunities for partnerships in information and technology dissemination.

The e-Extension Program specifically the e-Learning and Farmers Contact Center (FCC) were some of the ICT-based tools that were featured during the activity. As part of the briefing for the program, the participants were given the chance to access the online courses as well as to contact the FCC via text messages. Other ICT-based tools such as Rice Doctor and Rice Crop Manager of IRRI and Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank and Text Center of PhilRice were also featured.

“The KSL paved the way for the REIs to be informed of the various ICT tools that they can use for their clients,” said Antonieta J. Arceo, OIC-Chief of ATI-Information Services Division.

More than 100 participants from the different rice input dealers attended the event which included field tours on PhilRice’s rice farming projects.

The Knowledge Sharing and Learning activity was conducted last October 8 to 9, 2014 at PhilRice, Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.