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IRRI and DA BAFE’s EasyLevel app helps farmers access leveling machinery, facilities

28 June 2021 - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA BAFE) today launched two web applications to help increase farmers’ access to harvester services and optimized agricultural machinery scheduling.

Introduced virtually in celebration of DA BAFE’s 8th anniversary, EasyLevel and EasyFarm are both built on EasyHarvest, an IRRI-developed web-based tool that provides smart links and optimized scheduling between the farmers and combine harvester service providers.

Through EasyLevel, farmers locate and book available machinery near them. The app features a built-in algorithm for determining capable and/or optimal machinery for the current farmer's field. This algorithm is integrated into the back-end, which provides suggestions for optimal processing based on both field and machine parameters.

EasyLevel has also been expanded to include other machinery through the EasyFarm app. EasyFarm (also called NearbySearch) helps look for nearby resources from the BAFE Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Management Information System (ABEMIS) database, based on either the user's current location via GPS if active; or via drag-and-drop of a pin on the map.

At the virtual launch attended by representatives from public and private sector, manufacturers, and agriculture workers and researchers, BAFE Director Dr. Ariodear Rico shared his optimism about the potential impact of this collaboration to end-users.

“We are grateful for IRRI’s expertise, especially to the team that helped develop these applications. Our part is to promote laser land leveling and educate and train more farmers about it and its benefits so that they can use these apps and the machinery confidently,” said Rico.

Prior to the launch, Nguyen Van Hung, Scientist, IRRI, presented “Laser Land Leveling for Land Use Efficiency in the Philippines” while Engr. Martin Gummert, Leader, Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster shared a brief message congratulating BAFE on its anniversary and thanking them for a fruitful collaboration with IRRI.

“Laser land leveling is undoubtedly an important part of making rice production more sustainable and profitable. We will continue to develop the tools necessary to democratize access to leveling machinery and technologies, and our partnership with DA BAFE will be instrumental in this goal,” Gummert said. He also emphasized IRRI’s commitment to working with the Philippine government towards more sustainable technologies for rice production, eventually scaling these technologies to other rice-based economies.

More information on EasyLevel and EasyFarm:

There are two types of resources available on EasyFarm: machinery (currently only 4W tractors) and facilities (currently only rice processing centers). Users can select whether to search for machinery, facilities, or both. The app is strictly online-based for now, and thus requires an internet connection when in use. An option to use SMS for booking equipment and machinery is being worked out to make the service accessible to farmers and end-users who have no internet connection. A list of service providers is also to be provided by BAFE to Regional Field Offices of BAFE that farmers can access for booking via phone call or SMS messaging to facilitate the process.

Both apps can be accessed via Google Play Store by inputting “EasyLevel” and “NearbySearch” (for EasyFarm) in the search bar.