Banana yield forecasting app likely to be launched in 2021

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

January 19, 2021, 7:18 pm

<p>(<em>PNA file photo</em>) </p>

(PNA file photo

MANILA – An application (app) that can compute the estimated harvest date and yield of bananas is likely to be launched within the year, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) executive director Reynaldo Ebora said Tuesday.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency, Ebora said the development of the app is under the Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (SARAI) program led by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and funded by the PCAARRD.

"The cost of developing the mobile app itself is PHP50,000 since it just took one week for the programmer to develop the app. The estimated cost of banana research and development to come up with reliable data used in the development of the app is about PHP1 million," he said.

Target users of this app are the agricultural technicians, farm owners, and traders for them to seek buyers and have an estimate of supply by the bunch, Ebora added.

To use the app, the user will need to input the location of the crop. He or she must also indicate the variety (lakatan or saba).

The next step is to choose the status of the crop based on the photos that will be shown on the app. The photos of selected and monitored sample plants in the app were taken during the SARAI phenological studies on lakatan and saba varieties.

"Result will be the estimated harvest date. Estimated yield can also be computed based on the number of bunches," said Ebora.

He noted that the app is still for field validation and copyright application before releasing to the users.

Meanwhile, Ebora said the SARAI program aims to develop and implement science-based cropping system technologies, long-term strategies geared to maximize crop yield. It also aims to minimize the adverse environmental and climate impacts on the following crops: rice, corn, coconut, banana, coffee, cacao, sugarcane, soybean, and tomato.

"It is our response to the pressing challenges brought about by climate change, specifically to the agriculture sector. The program is anchored on precision agriculture by optimizing the use of crop simulation modeling, remote sensing and geographic information systems and field sensors to develop decision support models for crop forecasting, crop advisories," Ebora said.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña earlier said that crop forecasting is significant to the global food supply. "To improve national food security, policymakers rely on specific forecasts to take timely import and export decisions, he said. (PNA