In-house webinar highlights GIS for high value and indigenous crops

The University of Southern Mindanao (USM) introduced a Geographic Information Support (GIS) System for high value and indigenous crops as a tool in creating visual representations of data and performing spatial analyses to make informed decisions. This was presented during the in-house webinar of DA-BAR on 12 August 2022 through Facebook livestream. 

Through GIS, USM updated databases and generated thematic and other agriculture-related maps such as soils, temperature, and annual rainfall maps of the different provinces of SOCCSKSARGEN and Davao region using the criteria set by the Food and Agriculture Organization and other sources. 

The GIS was disseminated to partner agencies, including regional and provincial government units (LGUs) of SOCCSKSARGEN and Agusan del Sur, researchers, undergraduate students, and planning agencies. With this, a hands-on workshop on map generation and processing was conducted among partners, and technology appreciation discussion with university students. 

During the seminar, Dr. Adeflor G. Garcia encouraged “all GIS experts and enablers to bring the power of the technology to its best use.” 

“We encourage our partners to help the agriculture sector through GIS,” she added. 

Dr. Garcia also showcased the USM’s website on smart agriculture—as part of the outputs related to GIS. GIS maps will help in visualizing capability potentials, limitations, and constraints of production areas; and capacitating LGUs toward enhanced productivity and sustainability of high value crops in Southern Philippines. 

Currently, the PLGU in Agusan del Sur has developed an electronic portal for easy access of online maps that cover the monitoring and evaluation group of systems. This was funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development. The map resources by the province is located in the ACIAR or PCAARRD link where it has information on map layers containing available and existing maps of the LGUs, and processed map layers with results from multiple Philippines geo-processing operations. The map layers can also be filtered by topography, soil characteristics, climate, among others based on the researcher’s study or preferences. 

Developing open source applications through android phones that can be accessed offline, and developing an application that will aid in identifying soil types are two proposed activities of Dr. Garcia for the benefit of the development workers and researchers. (### Diwa J. Velasquez)