All good things must come to an end, as they say, but not just yet for this UPLB-implemented project.
The three-year project “Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines,” otherwise known as Project SARAI, may have culminated, but UPLB will continue to give farmers better and smarter farming options through the “National Program for Integrated Crop Monitoring and Forecasting System (ICMF).”
The ICMF was launched during Project SARAI’s culminating activity on Apr. 28 at CAS Auditorium in UPLB.
Project SARAI has produced and developed outputs that are helpful not just to farmers but also to agriculture extension workers, the local government units (LGU) in its target sites, and state colleges and universities (SUCs). Some of its notable outputs are the science-based planting calendar for rice and corn, a site-specific nutrient management and corn nutrient expert, an integrated crop monitoring system, a soil moisture monitoring system, a pest and disease advisory system, and the SARAI knowledge Portal (www.sarai.ph). The Portal houses all these systems and other information from the Project.
In his opening remarks at the launching of the ICMF, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. acknowledged Project SARAI’s contributions to the country’s agriculture sector. “Project SARAI has developed new technologies, systems, data products, as well as networks and linkages that have served as a springboard for the much needed change in our country’s agricultural sector,” he said. He announced the allocation of initial funding for ICMF by UPLB.
Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon, program leader of Project SARAI, acknowledged the support of the partners from SUCs, LGUs, and farming communities, some of which were represented during the event.
SARAI project leaders also presented their respective outputs: Conception L. Khan on the features and functions of the Portal; Dr. Felino P. Lansigan on the Integrated Crop Management System (ICMS), nutrient management, crop early warning systems, and adaptive planting calendar; Dr. Artemio M. Salazar on environmental characterization and the development of an ICMS; and Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava on capacity and knowledge-building and information, education, and communication activities.
Project SARAI activities shall be integrated in a single structure in the ICMF to be led by Moises A. Dorado, who had served as project leader of the SARAI-Enhanced Agricultural Monitoring System.
Project SARAI was funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD).
Among the guests during the program were Dr. Danilo C. Cardenas, deputy executive director for administration of DOST-PCAARRD; Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, director of the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR); Dr. Flaviana Hilario, deputy administrator for R&D of PAGASA; Dr. Jaime Montesur, representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization; and Dr. Rolando Cruz, scientist at the Philippine Rice Research Institute. (Maribeth C. Jadina)