Press Release
December 3, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara recommended the use of remote sensing to aid Filipino farmers and enhance agricultural production.

The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), chaired by Angara, is currently developing an ICT system that uses remote sensing and satellite imagery to provide real-time data and modeling for local farmers as one of its flagship projects for 2011.

"Competitive agriculture means efficiently growing high value crops, using remote sensing to anticipate heavy rains or drought, understanding the effects of climate change and pollution on productivity, and having an integrated view of the logistics of produce delivery to the market," said Angara.

Angara noted the significant benefits of utilizing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in building resilience and adaptability into the agricultural sector.

Former Department of Science and Technology (DA) Secretary Dr. William G. Padolina, Chair of the Agriculture and Food Panel of COMSTE, provided an overview of the need for ICTs in the agricultural sector, stating that: (1) most poverty-related problems in the country occur in the far-flung rural/agricultural areas; (2) the health of the sector also relies on the health of each individual farmer; and (3) the import of accuracy and timeliness of information delivery to farmers.

Dr. Josefino Comiso of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said that satellite imagery comes from their Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which can provide data measuring land-vegetation index, oceanic parameters such as sea surface temperature, ocean color, and many others due to its ability to capture data in 36 spectral bands. The information is free and accessible due to the recent purchase by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) of a MODIS receiver.

The project was identified by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Agriculture panels of COMSTE, as part of a plan to deliver basic services such as decision support systems for the agricultural and rural sectors, and improving services delivery to the poor and far-flung areas, said Angara.

At a recent event entitled "Outlook Philippines 2011: Seven Big Winners", the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce identified seven key areas that they see as driving forces of the economy, potentially bringing in up to $75 billion in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI's). One of the sectors was agriculture and agribusinees.

Mr. Roberto Amores, Vice President of Agriculture of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), noted that there have been production increases due to more public investments in agriculture but the country will still struggle to produce a surplus of commodities in 2011, because of the damage caused by recent typhoons in the rice, fruit and vegetable belts of northern Luzon.

Angara noted that the government should take the lead in ensuring that the growth of the agricultural sector remains constant and be able to withstand the many typhoons and other natural calamities that affect the nation.

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