PhilRice texts farmers free tips, weather advisories
Farming make take time but the Philippine Rice Research Institute is making sure farmers get access to information in the quickest time possible through its PhilRice Text Center.
The PhilRice Text Center gives rice farmers daily consultation services through their mobile phone. It also provides farmers monthly rice tips, weather advisories, promotions, and announcements via text or short messaging service. Students, extension workers, researchers, and other interested individuals can also tap the service.
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The service was first launched as the Farmers’ Text Center by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture in 2004. At that time, it had less than a hundred registered clients. By the first quarter of this year, however, its registered clients had reached 27,883. Problems arising from the El Nino that started last year may have helped increase its popularity.
And with the incoming La Nina, farmers will need all the help it can get.
“By responding to the farmers’ queries, we give them informed decisions in their farming practices. We regularly receive positive feedback and it overwhelms us,” said Fredierick Saludez, agriculturist and PhilRice Text Center’s main agent.
The queries they get are usually about seed quality and varietal information, pest management, seed availability, and nutrient management.
Last year, the center received an average of 240 text messages a day.
The PhilRice Text Center was established to complement the existing agricultural extension services and link farmers to experts to get information on new rice production technologies.
PhilRice is currently looking at partnerships with national telecommunication companies to upgrade its system and improve the delivery of the service to farmers. (Eileen A. Mencias)