14 October 2021 - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) through Director General Jean Balié formally transitioned Rice Crop Manager Advisory Service (RCMAS) Philippines to the Philippine Department of Agriculture today during the Rice Crop Manager (RCM) National Convention and Formal Transition Ceremony hosted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).
“RCM Philippines is a major digital agricultural product that is a result of the partnership between IRRI and the DA, which includes intensive collaborations and research work on crop research, product development, and extension services. This project serves as a model of how science can be translated into results through access to science, and evidence-based information using technology supported platforms,” Balié shared in his message.
DA Secretary William D. Dar thanked IRRI for its support, highlighting RCM’s significance in benefitting Filipino rice farmers and agricultural extension workers.
“Now as the RCMAS Philippines will fully shift from a project to an integrated program by the Department of Agriculture, we are expecting that this transition would further help us in our One DA reform agenda by 2022,” Dar added.
In a message, PhilRice Director John de Leon acknowledged the support of RCM’s partner agencies and emphasized the importance of fulfilling DA’s mantra, Masaganang Ani at Masaganang Kita. He said, “Make the Philippines food secure and resilient and our farmers, even our fisherfolks prosperous and empowered and I hope that you noticed by now that the RCM is a great tool to make that happen.”
The event also showcased 12 RCM-related research conducted by the regional partners. RCM’s net benefits, assessment and evaluation on the effectiveness of adoption were some of the studies highlighted.
In Asia, rice fields are generally modest in size but offer a wide range of productivity, features, and farm practices. Crops grown in the field vary by variety, yield level, and fertility level. Farmers also have varying levels of access to resources and technologies. As a result, crop and nutrient recommendations tailored to each field and farmer are required to maximize productivity while minimizing environmental impact.
In response to this challenge, IRRI, PhilRice and DA launched RCM in 2013 to offer customized guidance to farmers on nutrient and crop-specific management.
Using a computer or smartphone to access RCM, extension workers provide farmers with crop management recommendations based on field conditions. Farmers can use recommendations to understand soil conditions through continuous data collection and analysis, which enables them to make informed decisions on current farming practices.
To date, over 2.6 million RCM recommendations have been generated in 16 rice-growing regions throughout the Philippines. The average yield increase of 0.4 tons (400 kg) per crop per hectare resulted from the use of RCM recommendations, which is equivalent to approximately USD100/ha/cropping season added net benefit over conventional practices.
Following the launch of RCM, DA-PhilRice, IRRI with funding support from the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and DA-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) have worked closely together to expand the tool’s capabilities to provide advisory services, eventually rolling out an integrated digital platform known as RCMAS.
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