Press Release
June 25, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the government to take the lead in ensuring that the growth of the agricultural sector remains constant in spite of climate change, typhoons and natural calamities.

He recommended the use of remote sensing to aid Filipino farmers and enhance agricultural production.

The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which is 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 communications technology (ICT) in building resilience and adaptability in the agricultural sector. He mentioned that the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that mapping of areas that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change is crucial to the agricultural sector surviving the effects of climate change.

Former Department of Science and Technology Secretary Dr. William G. Padolina, chair of the Agriculture and Food Panel of COMSTE, provided an overview of the need for ICT in the agricultural sector. He explained 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.

COMSTE has identified this as a priority project that would deliver basic services, such as decision support systems for the agricultural and rural sectors, and improve services delivery to the poor and far-flung areas, said Angara.

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