Web conference found effective tool in getting agri knowledge

June 3, 2010 8:31 pm 

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, June 3 — Knowledge sharing via web conference proved to be an effective tool for rice farmers, extension workers and researchers in obtaining agricultural knowledge from credible sources, according to a study conducted by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OPAPA).

The study, “Perception on the Factors Associated with Rice Knowledge Sharing via Web Conference” showed that 93.75 percent of the respondents considered web conferencing as a convenient way to access agricultural information.

Gathered 48 respondents from Cyber Community (CyberCom) in Banaybanay, Davao Oriental, Pampanga, and PhilRice-Central Experiment Station in Nueva Ecija, the study showed that rice stakeholders in these areas benefited from web conferencing.

“With web conferencing, we can directly and immediately get answers from experts even though they are far from us,” a farmer of Banaybanay CyberCom said.

Meanwhile, a web conference facilitator said “our farmers gain knowledge not only in farming but also in all aspects of agriculture.”

OPAPA conducts web conferences to facilitate knowledge sharing between experts and farmers. Knowledge sharing allows the formulation of local-based solutions to farmers’ agricultural concerns.

Jezereel Louise C. Billano of OPAPA said that in the process of knowledge sharing via web conference, both farmers and experts get the chance to share what they have experienced and what they know.

With this, they are able to come up with more specific and practical solutions to the problems in the farmers’ community, Billano said.

Among the topics discussed in OPAPA web conferences are integrated pest management, postproduction practices, the PalayCheck System, and diagnostic tools used in nutrient management such as the Minus-One Element Technique and Leaf Color Chart.

“Knowledge sharing is important for farmers to make informed decisions that would help them increase their productivity,” Billano also said.

Meanwhile, the study also showed that 37.5% of the respondents still prefer face-to-face consultations.

They perceive that web conference is dependent on modern technologies and physical absence of the rice expert may have a negative effect on the knowledge sharing process.

Moreover, farmers and experts want to see actual field conditions for a more detailed interaction.

OPAPA is a coalition of various government agencies that aims to explore ICT applications in the Philippine Agriculture with PhilRice as the lead agency.

OPAPA established cybercoms, ICT-enabled farm villages aimed to link farm communities to various stakeholders who can potentially help them improve their farm production.

Equipped with computers with Internet connection, and digital knowledge products, the cybercoms allow farmers to gain access to latest agricultural technologies. (PNA)

LOR/zst/AG/ps

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