Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Technology to Meet the Challenges of Philippine Agriculture

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Sense Tech campaign at the MKS Room

 MakeSense, conducted its SenseTech campaign with the subject of Sustainable Philippine Agriculture at the MKS Room at PenBrothers in Makati City last February 20, 2018.

The topic was discussed with members of the tech community, together with students and volunteers. A panel consisting of members of YPARD (Young Professionals for Agricultural Development) Philippines presented the situation of agriculture in the country.

YPARD is concerned with the declining number of Filipino farmers whose average age is now 58 years old. They are aiming to make agriculture “sexy” for the youth. The objective is to encourage the use of technology so as to entice the youth in agriculture and farming.

The panel discussed the challenges of Philippine agriculture and the concept of national food security. It was disclosed that technology and infrastructure will play a large part in resolving the problems faced but it was also pointed out by Jim Leandro Pil Cano of  YPARD government policy/ies will be the underpinnings of what will the agriculture industry requires.
YPARD Panel Discussion
Aside from national food security, the economic well-being of the rural population is what is at stake in Philippine agriculture.

Noting the problems that range from infrastructure such as farm to market roads all the way to the availability of the internet in the rural areas, the forum also laid out possible solutions in not only sustaining but also increasing the growth of the agricultural sector.

The alternatives include the full use of SMS messages that have already 97% coverage of the country in transmitting and disseminating information to farmers. Also, the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in formulating ways for a much more structurally planned farming system for the Philippines was recommended. These technology-driven solutions can be used in the micro up to the macro level.

Aside from using IoT, YPARD is also advocating sustainable organic farming solutions that are available in educational institutions. The use of organic fertilizers and pesticides are also part of using technology and also examples such as “Container Farms” wherein the planting of crops are done inside cargo Containers thereby giving them protection against weather-related hazards.

Agriculture financing was also discussed wherein an adaptation of the Grameen Financing system has been undertaken t provide funding to small-scale farmers.Currently, there is the CARD-MRI financing available for Filipino farmers.

Drone technology is also being tested wherein drones can be used for crop monitoring and even pollination.

It was also emphasized that the Philippine agriculture sector is a natural breeding ground for startups that will use technology in a "disruptive" manner so as to further increase the use of technology in revitalizing this economic sector. The target again is to involve the youth who have gained the proficient use of technology in creating solutions to everyday problems.

MakeSense is a worldwide community that is mainly run by volunteers that aim to address social and environmental issues.






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