While it is important for a country to develop and manage its own platform of agriculture-related information, there is still a need to obtain such kinds of information in other countries to further improve what already exists as well as to gain new knowledge from them.
The Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI) is currently implementing its three-year project titled, "Establishment of Agricultural Technology Information Network in Asia" (ATIN). The project is aimed at facilitating a web-based agricultural information and knowledge sharing among member countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) serves as the partner organization for the Philippines represented by Ms. Melissa A. Resma, head of BAR's Information Management Unit (IMU).
Part of the activities of the project is the reproduction of publications such as handbooks, manuals, and other related agricultural materials that will provide relevant information and recent technologies generated from R&D.
"This activity aims at facilitating the publication and distribution of agricultural technology books for providing agricultural technologies directly to local farmers and sharing educational materials in their local languages or English," said Mr. Yang- Hee Cho, acting secretary-general of AFACI.
With this, AFACI, in partnership with BAR, is sponsoring three agriculture books which will be launched on 3 May 2012 at the Rural Development Administration (RDA), Republic of Korea in time for its 50th Anniversary celebration.
The three Philippine publications that will be launched are: 1) Mga Pamamaraan sa Organikong Gulayan (Organic Vegetable Farming) by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), 2) Package of Technology of Different Vegetable Crops by DA-Regional Field Unit (RFU) 4A, and 3) Handbook on the Identification and Control of Pigeonpea Insect Pests and Diseases by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU).
The book, "Mga Pamamaraan sa Organikong Gulayan (Organic Vegetable Farming)" gives information on how to preserve soil fertility and to protect the environment while performing pest and disease control in vegetable farming. Highlighted in the handbook are experiences and learning of farmers who participated in the implementation of organic farming in selected areas in CALABARZON.
Another handbook, "Package of Technology of Different Vegetable Crops" tackles the different ways to increase the production of quality vegetables. It also gives emphasis to the efforts of the DA- Technology Generation and Dissemination for the Growth and Development of Vegetable Industry towards the improvement of the production, postharvest handling and marketing of vegetables through technologies. Steps on farming techniques and practices, including new crop varieties, are also found in the handbook.
The publication, "Handbook on the Identification and Control of Pigeonpea Insect Pests and Diseases" offers readers a short introduction about pigeonpea. It focuses on the characterization of pigeonpea's pests and the description of how these pests can affect the said crop. Enumeration of the measures on how to control and prevent them is also included.
The three publications are products of BAR-supported projects. Information gathered and learned from each of these handbooks will help not only farmers, but researchers, extension workers, policymakers and other concerned sector in agriculture. One thousand copies of each handbook will be reproduced while 15 copies of each will be sent to Korea for the book launch.