Farmers in the MIMAROPA now have better yields because of an innovative mobile application called RCM or Rice Crop Manager, the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the MIMAROPA said in a statement Tuesday.
In the statement released by its Regional Agriculture and Fishery Information Section (RAFIS), the DA-MIMAROPA said that a study made by their research division showed farmers in the region increased their average yields to 4.93 tons per hectare in 2018 by using inbred rice variety which is usually higher than the 3.8 tons per hectare in 2013 before the launching of the mobile app.
RCM is an application for mobile and computer that allows farm technicians to give rice growers specific recommendations on nutrient, pest, weed, or water management, depending on the specific variety they used, their yield from the previous season, and the site-specific conditions of their fields, the statement said.
It was launched by the DA in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to improve production, increase farmers’ income, and provide fast and on-time professional extension service to farmers through the use of the information and communications technology (ICT).
The DA-MIMAROPA’s Research Division said that with the data gathered from the 40 demo-trials for RCM conducted 2014 in the three major rice-producing provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, and Palawan, the farms obtained 80 percent higher yields.
In 2018, there were a total of 4,207 registered fields with 3,808 registered farmers that used the RCM in the region. The numbers increased by almost 50 percent from 2017 which was only 2,863 registered fields and farmers.
The significant increase in registered fields and farmers was because of the constant intensive promotion from 2014 through the Rice Program Model Farms (RPMFs) in cooperation with the local government units.
The RPMFs showcased the benefits and advantages of the said application in the provinces of the region.
Among the registered farmers who have been successful in using the RCM recommendations are Artemia Caringal, 65, and Rizal De La Santa, 54, from Barangays Victoria and Naujan in Oriental Mindoro.
The press statement said both farmers have learned how to properly apply fertilizers to their rice crops through the RCM’s recommended nutrients that were based on the analysis of their fields.
“Dati noon makita lang namin na namumutla ang dahon sabog lang nang sabog [ng abono]. Ang nangyayari ay dumadami ang dahon pero kukonti ang bunga. Yun pala, base naman sa rekomendasyon ng RCM, may tama palang paraan ng pag-mix ng iba’t ibang klase ng abono at kung ilang days (ang intervention) bago maglagay. Ngayon, kapag lumaki ang pananim bumeberde na ang dahon marami pa ang bunga,” shared De La Santa who has been using the RCM recommendations for one and a half year now.
As such, his yield increased to 115 sacks from 60 sacks of rice crop per hectare. It made him earn more than P138,000 per hectare for P24 per kilo directly after threshing and P33 for dried.
Meanwhile, Caringal who has been using the app for almost three years now, was hesitant at first when she was asked to try the RCM because of the number of fertilizers that it suggested.
But after listening to the technician’s advice, Caringal heeded and saw in no time the significant changes in the quality of her rice crops and her yields.
“Noong una sa tingin ko ay napakagastos noong nirerekomendang pang-abono pero nakita ko naman sa huli na maganda ang resulta… nakakapag-harvest kami ng 90 to 103 [sako ng palay bawat hektarya] na dating 40-50 bags lamang noon,” Caringal pointed out.
The lady farmer also sells her harvested rice crop at P24 and P33 per kilo, making her earn at least P123,600 per hectare.
Both planted RC218, an export quality rice variety, the DA-MIMAROPA’s statement said.
“Napakalaking tulong talaga ng ganitong proyekto ng DA dahil nakakatulong ito sa aming mga magsasaka upang tumaas ang aming ani,” she uttered.
With the data presented, RCM is among the key programs that can significantly help the region and the country as well, to achieve its main goal that is rice sufficiency.