The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is tapping the potential of agriculture as a tourist attraction, showcasing conventional and cutting-edge technologies on rice farming, a senior official said on Friday.
Visitors and farmers learn about new technologies in PhilRice’s Future Rice Program farm such as nutrient diagnostic tools, Rice Crop Manager App and other devices, said Roger Barroga, Future Rice Program leader.
He said the farm in Munoz, Nueva Ecija uses clean and renewable energy, including solar-powered water pump and biogas digester that provides alternative fuel from animal wastes.
The farm also showcases hybrid rice varieties such as Mestiso 19 and 20, rarely seen collection of traditional varieties, aromatic rice, submergence tolerant varieties, farmers’ varieties called ‘double diamond,’ and Korean varieties. Vegetables are also grown in land and in floating gardens.
“Our objective is to prepare the Filipino farmers and extension workers for future rice farming scenarios and train them on clean, green, practical, and smart rice farming,” said Barroga said.
The 5-hectare farm site provides education, exposure, and experience to rice farmers and extension workers through training, site visits, and agricultural events.
“This year, in cooperation with the Project IPaD (Improving Technology Promotion and Delivery through Capability Enhancement of Next-Gen Rice Extension Professionals and Other Intermediaries), we developed a portion of the farm as a rice boot camp and hosted the season-long training of 25 AgRiDoc or the new breed of extension workers. The rice boot camp included plots for rice production,” Barroga said.
The farm is about five hours drive from Metro Manila. A visit to the farm offers agricultural adventures such as rice planting, harvesting, and recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and kayaking.