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Cloud computing to help the rice sector in the Philippines

In the photo are (from L to R): Dr. Ajay Kohli, IRRI Strategic Innovation Platform Leader; Mr. Arvin de Torres, AWS Public Sector Account Lead-Philippines; Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., DOST-ASTI Director; Dr. Berta Miro, Post-doctoral Fellow at IRRI and Asi@Connect RICESTATS DATABASE Project Leader; Dr. Jean Balié, IRRI Agri-Food Policy Platform Leader and Asi@Connect RICESTATS DATABASE Principal Investigator

2 December 2019, Los Banos, Laguna - The agriculture and science community in the Philippines celebrated the launch of Asi@Connect RICESTATS DATABASE: Leveraging the Cloud for Rice Statistics and Analytics.

RICESTATS DATABASE, which is led by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), intends to create a reference resource by using an ontology to combine data into a one-stop accessible database with a displayable dashboard for rice statistics. The platform runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) such as AWS Glue, Athena, and S3 for data extraction, transformation, and loading while the transformed data is stored in AWS cloud warehouse Redshift. The database will contain data from existing household surveys conducted by IRRI globally and will include data from national bureaus and international organizations. Currently, such a consolidated database with disaggregated data, such as production by season and gender of household head up to the barangay level, does not exist for rice in Asia.

In his keynote address, academician Dr. William Padolina said, “Without new knowledge especially in science and technology, without the new knowledge that will be generated, it will be difficult to make good decisions on conservation and resource use, something that is vital to the success of rice production.”

The launch was hosted by IRRI, the Department of Science and Technology-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI), and AWS last November 29, 2019 at Dusit Thani Manila.

DOST-ASTI Director Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr. emphasized the importance of this collaboration with IRRI and DOST-ASTI’s long-standing partnership, “The DOST-ASTI and IRRI, over the years, have established a good working relationship through our partnership in the areas of research networking, high performance computing, and cloud computing. IRRI is connected to the Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information Network (PREGINET), which is being managed by the DOST-ASTI.” PREGINET is the Philippines’ only National Research and Education Network (NREN) that is connected to a global REN, of which Asi@Connect is the Asia-Europe connection.

IRRI Agri-Food Policy Platform Leader Dr. Jean Balié says of this project initiative, “IRRI believes that the Asi@Connect project can help fulfill a number of Sustainable Development Goals through improved access to education and research resources across the Asia-Pacific.”

“RICESTATS DATABASE will enable the dissemination of comprehensive rice socio-economic data through an easily accessible database interface on a wider scale. The project will provide a unique resource for agricultural and social science researchers, academia, policy makers, donors, and investors in the rice sector and beyond,” IRRI Representative for the Philippines Dr. Romeo Recide added.

Asi@Connect empowers Asian countries by enabling them to participate in collaborative programs like RICESTATS DATABASE. They also bridge the digital divide that exists within the global communities of research, education, and health.

“The main objective of Asi@Connect, as successor to the TEIN program, is to provide and further develop a dedicated regional high capacity, high quality internet connectivity network for research and higher education, also leveraging the e-infrastructure developed for public service projects such as food security, health, ocean observation related to natural disasters, e-government, education and training, and cultural heritage with emphasis on applications of broad societal benefit,” said TEIN Cooperation Center CEO Dr. ByungKyu Kim.

The launch was attended by partners from agriculture and science organizations, officials from national government agencies, and members of the academe in the Philippines