PhilRice asks rice farmers to use SMS in managing pests and plant diseases

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato, Aug. 17 (PNA) – The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the country’s lead agency in rice research and development, is providing farmers with a new platform where they can directly communicate with the rice research agency without spending much.

In a statement released Saturday, PhilRice encouraged farmers in Mindanao to avail of its Short Messaging System (SMS) service to manage pests and diseases.

Rice blast, the world`s most prevalent disease reducing yield by 50 to 85 percent, may be expected in some fields in the country as its occurrence is triggered by frequent rains and high relative humidity.

Among those who have availed themselves of the SMS services was a farmer from Sultan Kudarat province who now sleeps soundly without worrying about his rice fields.

“Thanks to PhilRice Text Center (09209111398)! I have now peace of mind as I now know how to manage rice blast this wet season,” Francisco C. Cerdana, 52, of Sultan Kudarat, said in Filipino.

Through the PhilRice Text Center, farmers can receive instant information on rats, tungro, bacterial leaf blight, bakanae, and green leafhopper.

Information on golden apple snail, rice black bug, leaf folder, and stem borer are also available.

To complement the SMS service, PhilRice pilot-tested a “Text Aralan” in Sultan Kudarat, in which registered farmers received information on managing rice blast for a week.

“This service is okay. Information is easy to understand and I save time from going to the technician’s office,” another rice farmer, Warly Ragual, said with the feeling of assurance his rice fields are growing well.

In the same statement, PhilRice said other than SMS, the PhilRice Text Center also handles transaction on PhilRice products and sends out weather advisory. (PNA)