DRONES will soon be used to monitor rice production in the country, with the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) set to conduct a training program on drone technology with the University of Southern Mindanao by next year.
The move is part of initiatives to use more technological advancements in rice production.
The training program will highlight flight tutorials and application of the drone’s features—particularly in gathering accurate data and conducting studies efficiently, said Roger Barroga, PhilRice Future Rice Program chief.
The technology features a high-definition camera, flight stabilizer, and GPS (Global Positioning System) that will allow users to program its flight path. A drone can fly for eight to 10 minutes and can travel up to a maximum distance of two kilometers.
Barroga said drone technology could be maximized for research activities such as data collection, tracking growth patterns, and pests and nutrient management.
Dr. Dindo Tabanao, PhilRice’s Plant Breeding and Biotechnology Division chief, said that on a wider scale, drones can be used to inspect damage during calamities, monitor rice fields during crop establishment, and assess real time conditions in areas to be possibly hit by El Niño.
Researchers also said that the device can help reduce costs for multi-location monitoring and trials.
“We will further explore the technology`s features so researchers could spend their time efficiently,” Tabanao added.
The drone is available in the country and is sold for around P25,000.