University of the Philippines Los Baños

ProjSARAI

 

An ICT-based crop forecasting system enables
farmers to decide on planting dates for higher crop
yields and higher net income. (Photo courtesy of SARAI)

 ICT-based tools and systems that guide farmers on the best time to plant and help researchers determine the impact of climate change on a forest; web-based maps that identify areas at risk to natural calamities using a free software; and a tool which enables one to trace the source of pork sold in grocery stores. These are just among the ICT-based tools that UPLB scientists and researchers presented at the ICT Asia 2015 Regional Workshop on May 25-26 held at SEARCA in the UPLB campus.

ICT-Asia is an annual scientific conference that focuses on the applications of information and communication technology (ICT) on climate change modeling and monitoring, disaster risk reduction, food security, and urban and rural informatics. Spearheaded by the French Government and held in collaboration with SEARCA, UNESCO, and IRRI, ICT Asia 2015 drew participants among systems developers and scientists from Asia, including five from UPLB.

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor at the Institute of Statistics, presented a crop forecasting system (CFS) that enables farmers to decide on planting dates for higher crop yields and higher net income, or minimize their losses due to extreme weather events.

Concepcion L. Khan, assistant professor at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS), presented a collaborative portal framework that features adaptive planting calendars, early warning system, and nutrient and pest advisories that aim to help farmers increase their yield, or minimize their losses due to extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, professor at the Institute of Renewable and Natural Resources and director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, proposed an automated system of gathering data on forest tree parameters using radio-frequency identification and geomatics. This will help researchers determine the impact of climate change on tree growth and resiliency, and on forest dynamics.

Prof. Jaderick Pabico, also from ICS, presented a system that ensures meat quality and safety through a nationwide pork tracking system that uses an RFID device to monitor the process that the product went through before it reached the market.

On the other hand, Charmaine Marie A. Pabelico, a fourth year BS Computer Science student of ICS, developed a web-based geohazard map for the local government unit of Los Baños, Laguna using an open source software. The web-based map voids the use of expensive and complex licensed software in developing standard geohazard maps.

The opening program saw the gathering of top officials from various Asian and French organizations.

In his message, Dr. Gil C. Saguitguit, Jr., director of SEARCA,  expressed his desire for Southeast Asia’s continuous strong ties with French research institutions in advancing agricultural and rural development. Likewise, UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr., called for stronger research partnerships among the participants.

Dr. Amelia P. Guevara, undersecretary for research and development of the Department of Science and Technology, commended the gathering of bilateral partners. She said that ICT has become ubiquitous and integrated in daily life and she cited DOST programs that are making full use of ICT, such as Project NOAH and DREAM.

Prof. Kanchana Kancha-nasut, vice president for research of the Asian Institute of Technology based in Thailand, highlighted the need for more participation in climate change research. She noted that the original idea of bringing together French and Southeast Asian ICT researchers has grown into a wide and strong network of institutions and people.

His Excellency Gilles Garachon, French Ambassador to the Philippines, noted the importance of ICT Asia 2015 in solving food production and climate change issues. He said that the map of the world is changing because of climate change and that  the current generation must ensure that “food is available, air is fresh, and there is water” for future generations.

Meanwhile, André de Bussy, counselor for regional cooperation for the ASEAN of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, discussed the contributions of ICT in fostering regional cooperation and its vital role in disaster risk reduction and management.

               Also present were Dr. Luc le Calvez, director of the Office for Southeast Asia of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), who encouraged participants to collaborate with the the CNRS; and Dr. Jean-Pascual Torreton, representative in Vietnam and Regional Coordinator for Asia of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), who noted that the conference’s purpose is closely linked with their organization’s aim of helping developing countries and encouraging research development while mutualizing research benefits. (OPR release)