Rice Crop Manager Implementers Convene for a Planning Workshop

Ms. Castillo, Associate Scientist at IRRI presents the report and dissuss issues of RCM Messenger deployment to the ATI staff.

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – To get feedback, review the progress and performance, the implementers of Rice Crop Manager (RCM) recently convened for the 2nd Updating and Planning Workshop organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

The Rice Crop Manager or the RCM app was developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for the Philippines. RCM can be used through desktop computers and smartphones aiming to contribute to the implementation of appropriate ‘modern precision farming’ by providing farmers with personalized crop and nutrient management recommendations matching their location-specific rice-growing conditions.

At the 2nd Updating and Planning Workshop, the field implementers from the DA-Regional Field Offices and from the ATI Regional Training Centers presented their accomplishment reports, discussed plans and activities on RCM Agronomy Advisory Services (RCM AAS) deployment, as well as monitoring and evaluation for the rest of 2015 and 2016.

Dr. Roland J. Buresh, Principal Scientist of IRRI, presented the new feature of RCM as part of the continued enhancement. He particularly discussed the RCM Farming Monitor to determine practices of farmers after receiving an RCM recommendation and the RCM Crop adviser to be used in diagnosing and solving rice production problems during the cropping season.

The functionality of RCM Messenger software and issues on RCM Messenger deployment was discussed during the parallel sessions. Associate Scientist Rowena Castillo of IRRI served as moderator during the session with the ATI-RTC RCM Messenger Operators and Knowledge Management Coordinators.

Internet connectivity has been identified as major problem in RCM deployment. Dr. Roger Barroga of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), shared strategies on how to address the issue. He suggested to engage the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Information Communication Technology Office and tap their TV White Space (TVWS) deployment project. TVWS refers to the vacant frequencies located between broadcast TV channels, which can be used to provide wireless data connectivity to remote communities in the country.

Representatives from the different projects such as Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery (IPaD), Philippines Rice Information System (PRISM) and Next Generation rice varieties for major ecosystems in the Philippines (NextGen), which are all components of Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) of the DA, came to harmonize and integrate their activities to the implementation of the RCM in the regions.

Results of the workshop will serve as basis for possible future improvement of RCM capability which ultimately aims to calculate the amount and timing of fertilizer application, increase rice yield and eventually farmer’s income at Php 4,500 per hectare per cropping.

Proposed face-lift on the user interface of the RCM website, a more user-friendly and cross-browser compatibility was also presented to the group. The RCM app can be access through: http://webapps.irri.org/ph/rcm/

Organized by the DA's National Rice Program and IRRI, the activity was held last August 24 to 28, 2015 in Quezon City.