To efficiently attain the goals of agribusiness development and improve the national performance of agriculture and fisheries in the country, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) has adopted and is promoting a computer-based decision support system (DSS) known as e-Pinoy FARMS to systematize the management and coordination of rural development projects anchored on research, development and extension (RDE).
e -Pinoy FARMS is a web-based system used to generate, send, receive, store and process electronic data. It allows farmers, researchers and, extension workers to interact with each other to identify farm-specific production problems and solutions, document practical knowledge, access market-related data and share relevant information to support decision-making.
Through this computer-based decision support system, BAR can build-up its information-driven, knowledge-based resource management to effectively address R&D needs, hence, enabling BAR and the DA’s research system meet the challenges of innovation and technology commercialization in agribusiness for the present and in the future.
In its development as a vital resource, the first phase of the project, which is e-Pinoy FARMS for agriculture, was implemented in 2006 under the leadership of Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in partnership with Optiserve Technologies, Inc., the program developer of E-Pinoy FARMS.
The e-Pinoy FARMS for Agriculture was deployed nationwide in sixteen (16) regional integrated agricultural research centers (RIARC) to complement the coordination, monitoring and evaluation requirements of the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) and the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) of BAR for agriculture related projects.
With advances in its development and an improved database system, the e-Pinoy FARMS is about to take-off on its second phase which is now on fisheries, said Ms Cheryl Marie Natividad of Optiserve during the seminar workshop conducted at BAR in 19 January 2010.
Ms. Melissa Resma, head of Information Management Unit of BAR also said that software applications for e-Pinoy FARMS on fisheries have been installed in almost all regional fisheries research and development centers (RFRDC) nationwide except for five regions; Calabarzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Western Mindanao.
Optiserve, as the technology provider and consultant of this project, is currently conducting a systems roll-out in all regions, including the remaining five regions, to enhance their technical capability and to delineate functional roles and complementation between and among partners to ensure effective implementation of e-Pinoy FARMS for fisheries.
The e-Pinoy FARMS for fisheries aims to operationalize research-extension linkages among the major stakeholders – fisherfolks, local government units (LGU), private sectors, and the non government organizations (NGO) – through the active partnership between regional fisheries research and development centers (RFRDC) and eventually with the regional fisheries training centers (RFTC). It shall also enable RFRDCs to document and process CPAR project management including fisherfolk/cooperators’ registration into the development of research program, enable them to keep track of their technology application and production practices, monitor the progress/implementation throughout the project life cycle, keeps a record of transactions every quarter to determine enterprise/agribusiness development, and store all sorts of information related to community-based resource management.
Among the key result areas (KRA) for e-Pinoy FARMS in fisheries are: establish a data repository of community-based coastal and inland resources, and fisherfolk production-related activities that will be available to organizations, community-based associations, LGUs, field workers, and other government agencies in support of result-oriented decisions; facilitate the collection and submission of accurate data at ground level to aid BAR and partners in planning and budgeting; and improve the data gathering methodologies and processes of BAR by establishing electronic communication protocols and standards to allow verification of information anytime.
During the January 2010 workshop, BAR Dir. Dr. Eleazar said that the information-based system is very important for BAR to develop more research-driven agribusiness and sustainable development initiatives in the future. “We need to be fully operationalized in this project for the full implementation of CPAR this year. We need to improve our databases for us to upgrade to the next level” Eleazar said.