PhilRice launches helpline for farmers
In a bid to be more accessible to farmers, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) has re-introduced the digital platform called PhilRice Text Center (PTC), which provides daily consultation services to rice farmers around the country through call and SMS.
Farmers can reach the PTC through 0917-111-7423. The Text Center agents are available to answer queries about rice seeds and modern farming practices from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Farm advisories, rice technology updates, market information, and other farm insights are also regularly sent to the registered farmer-clients.
Originally launched as Farmers’ Text Center by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture in 2004 with 28 users, the PTC now has more than 35,000 registered clients.
Currently, it receives an average of 200 SMS everyday.
“Our top queries are usually related to seed quality and varietal information, pest management, seed availability, and nutrient management,” said Fredierick Saludez, PTC’s main agent.
Saludez also said that info-in demand enables farmers to instantly receive information by sending keywords.
For varieties, farmers can type the keyword (name of the variety) to get information on yield, maturity period, reaction to pests, and eating quality. For instance, just type Rc160 and send to 0917-111-7423.
The main agent, who is also an agriculturist, added that extension workers, students, researchers, and other rice stakeholders may also avail of the service.