Smarter crop forecasting system tested in Isabela

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ISABELA: A system to forecast rice and corn production using the latest in science and technology was successfully tested in Isabela province, according to a University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) professor.

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Dr. Felino Lansigan, UPLB Institute of Statistics Professor, said the test has prompted agriculture scientists in the Philippines to push for the development of a Smarter Crop Forecasting System (CFS) in the country.

“The application of Smarter CFS in Isabela for rice and corn production shows it to be reliable and timely compared to the current crop forecasting which involves time consuming surveys and erroneous crop estimates,” said Lansigan, also UPLB Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

He said the current crop forecasting in the Philippines is based on the quarterly Rice and Corn Production Survey involving enumeration and interviews of a large number of farmers regarding planting intentions, area cropped and yield.

“These surveys are time consuming and crop estimates are subject to measurement errors,” Lansigan said.

On the other hand, Lansigan said Smarter CFS can use databases on weather and climate, soils, water resources, among others, and be integrated. He added that information is then extracted to improve decision-making in the agricultural and food production value chain.

“Using the Smarter CFS, estimates of area cropped are less subject to measurement errors. Moreover, the Smarter CFS can be used to assess crop production under an anticipated climate scenario,” Lansigan said.

He said that the new forecasting system is potentially a useful tool for assessing food security and developing early warning systems.

The Smarter CFS study led by Lansigan was presented during a recently held conference on the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for farming that was spearheaded, among others, by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture based in Los Banos, Laguna.

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