Aurora province pilots 'e-Village' project

By Alexander Villafania

Around 1,200 rice farmers in Aurora province are learning new organic farming production technologies through the "e-Village" project, which links various local research institutions via the Internet.

The project was launched by the Department of Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI), the Philippine Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

Expected to be completed by the end of 2010, the project links research and training institutions allowing farmers undertaking training from the project to further expand their agricultural knowledge.

The first e-Village is located in Aurora province wherein farmers are also getting training on establishing a cooperative (or co-op) to manage their crops.

Other parties involved in the e-Village of the project include the municipal government of Aurora, community traders and agri-business entrepreneurs, the Aurora Provincial Agriculturist Office, cooperatives, and the Baler Rice Processing Complex.

The project development is spearheaded by Senator Edgardo Angara, who also heads the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

The first phase of the project involves four municipalities in Aurora - Baler, Maria Aurora, San Luis and Dipaculao - and will contribute in creating a self-sustaining agricultural information system.

The second phase will then target the four other Aurora municipalities of Casiguran, Dingalan, Dilasag and Dinalungan.

Farmers are taught to synchronize their schedules for planting, harvesting and delivery of produce. They would also be providing information about their progress and evaluation to how to better improve their farming techniques.