AI early warning system for rice farmers among ‘innovation projects’ funded by NEDA

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MANILA, Philippines – A proposal to use artificial intelligence or AI in an early warning system for rice farming made it to a list of “innovation projects” that will receive funding from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The proposed project by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) aims to use artificial intelligence for “impact-based forecasting” and in an “early warning system for inclusive finance and strengthening of local economic development in rice-based farming communities.”

PhilRice has yet to publicly release details of the proposal. This is, however, not the first time that the government agency has experimented with artificial intelligence for agriculture.

In 2020, PhilRice launched its e-Damuhan app, which uses “artificial intelligence weed recognition technology” that allows rice farmers to take pictures and have the app recognize different weeds in the rice field.

Aside from PhilRice’s project, three other agri-solution projects made it to NEDA’s list.

This included the “geospatial mapping and information system for precise farming and smart agriculture” project by the Samar State University, and a mobile app project called TABU for agriculture e-commerce in Eastern Visayas by the Eastern Visayas State University.

The Occidental Mindoro State College also obtained funding for a project creating an “alternative onion storage system” that would prolong the lifespan of onions by storing them in a warehouse equipped with an air blow storage system. (READ: How cold storages can save, empower onion farmers to feed the nation)

In total, the NEDA selected 25 “innovation projects” to fund through its P100-million 2023 Innovation Grants program. These will be implemented by different government agencies and offices, state universities and colleges, and government-owned and controlled corporations.

“These projects cover a wide range of fields – from agri-tech solutions and AR/VR education platforms to smart data-driven policies, disaster preparedness, and cultural heritage preservation – showcasing the creativity of Filipino innovation actors as well as the vibrant and dynamic landscape of innovation across all regions,” the NEDA said. – Rappler.com

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