The use of a web-based geographic information system (GIS) can greatly help concerned government agencies in agriculture to map out their development programs, projects and strategies, according to the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).
PhilMech, an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA), is developing a web-based updating system for farmlands to determine their degree of mechanization, which can be achieved with the application of GIS.
“The GIS continues to play crucial role in agriculture, specifically in increasing production through effective management and treatment of various agricultural inputs, risk assessment, pest control and many other projects that increase resource use efficiency in consequence with environment protection,” a PhilMech paper entitled “Establishment of GIS-Based Decision Support System for Postharvest Development and Mechanization,” stated.
The paper showed that PhilMech for over 15 years has gathered, processed, cleaned, sorted and encoded huge amounts of data on farm postharvest and mechanization facilities. The effort was part of the project “Collaborative Project on Postharvest Development Masterplanning and Database Management.”
The gathering of the data was a result of the collaboration among the DA, its regional offices and a number of attached agencies like the National Food Authority, PhilMech, National Irrigation Authority, local government units, state colleges and universities, and the Philippine Society of Agricutural Engineers.
However, PhilMech now has an expanded role or to lead farm mechanization efforts in the country, which will require the agency to use information and communications technology like web-based GIS.
“At present, the web-based protocol in accessing and updating the databases are being enhanced to make it more intuitive, so that users can easily access the specific data that they would like to generate. Database management staff use querying protocol to quickly respond to requests of internal and external clients for various data from the databases,” the PhilMech paper said.
The agency’s efforts has resulted in GIS maps showing the location and density of specific postharvest facilities and farm machines, which will help PhilMech develop projects that fit local or community conditions.
With the developments PhilMech has made in its databasing and development of GIS maps, the agency is planning to allow stakeholders in the agriculture sector to access the databases through a web-based protocol. There is also a need to enable web-based updating.
“In order to maintain up-to-date databases, the web-based updating system should be implemented, and in a wider coverage, such as municipal-level data updating portals,” the PhilMech paper said.