Project NOAH can be used in agriculture (Business Mirror)

Details Category: Science
02 Aug 2014
Written by Alladin S. Diega / Correspondent

FARMERS can now plan ahead and adjust planting schedules to avoid possible hazards like typhoons, floods and drought.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) has been “very effective in aiding local government units and the general public in terms of disaster preparedness and mitigation through its digital platform, and now it is being used to help the farming sector,” the DOST said in a news release.

Flood forecasting with the use of flood-hazard maps generated from the component project of NOAH, called Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM), responsible in informing the public which are “unsafe and safe areas for evacuation or relocation in the event of floods.”

Two years following its launch in Marikina City in 2012, Project NOAH has “morphed into a different form of information vehicle.”

Its weather data is now being used as a tool for agriculture, “churning out data and information that can help farmers increase productivity by knowing when to plant and where to plant,” the DOST said.

The updated capacity of Project NOAH in helping the agriculture sector was announced during the Agri-Aqua Forum of last week’s National Science and Technology Week, under the subtheme “smart agriculture.”

The weather-forecasting project, Weather Information Integration for System Enhancement (WISE), was able to come up with drought- vulnerability maps for the country’s two major crops, rice and corn.

“The color-coded map identified areas highly vulnerable to drought represented by color red, moderately vulnerable by color yellow and least vulnerable by color green,” the news release said. Dr. Erika Mari Macapagal of Project NOAH-WISE delivered the presentation by colleague Dr. Gay Jane Perez, titled “Drought and Crop Assessment and Forecasting.”

For rice, the highly vulnerable areas include Central Mindanao, Central Luzon, Bicol, Iloilo and Negros. On the other hand, the least vulnerable is Northeastern Mindanao. For corn, the highly vulnerable areas include Zamboanga, half of Eastern Mindanao, Cebu and Batangas. On the other hand, almost the entire area of Luzon, including Mindoro, Palawan, Panay Island and Eastern Mindanao were identified as least vulnerable.

There are also crop-classification maps for coconut, sugarcane, abaca and tobacco.

Currently, Project NOAH-DREAM is in the process of a comprehensive data gathering and processing. To assess rain pattern or drought events, the project will use data on rainfall, soil moisture, temperature and vegetation cover, which will be used further to come up with seasonal forecasts of up to six months in advance.

Once completed, this information will greatly help those in the agricultural sector, “from individual farmers to corporate agricultural ventures, in programming their planting activities, thereby minimizing loss and increasing production,” the new release said.

This article was originally published in Business Mirror on August 2, 2014. 

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