Friday, June 1, 2012

PhilRice taps youth for 'infomediary' campaign

By Nikka Garriga MARIA AURORA, AURORA PROVINCE—The Philippine Rice Institute (PhilRice) will be mobilizing the youth to help spread agriculture-related information to more farming lands. About 34 students from two national high schools here will serve as infomediaries, or those who will aid farmers in gaining access to information. They have been introduced to information and communications technology-based modes of information delivery such as the Pinoy Rice Knowledge Bank (PRKB) and the PhilRice Text Center. Most information on rice farming in the Philippines—such as videos and powerpoint presentations on yield-enhancing and cost-reducing technologies in rice farming—can be downloaded online through the PRKB website. The infomediary campaign aims to disseminate the wealth of information from the publications and websites of agricultural research institutions through the farmers' children schools. “The schools will serve as nucleus for extension, which can provide a viable solution to the difficulty in reaching farmers in far flung areas,” campaign team lead Jaime Manalo said. It will also tap social media to better establish communication with students once they return to the province from their training. “The students can also use this to post photos of damaged and infected rice plants. The photos will then be forwarded to PhilRice crop experts for diagnosis,” Manalo added. PhilRice and the province of Aurora have earlier forged a new partnership which seeks to increase farm productivity in the third largest land in Central Luzon. This will also include recommended pest management practices and diversified organic-based farming. ***