NUEVA  ECIJA:  FIRST  INTERNET  BUS  FOR  PINOY  FARMERS  HITS  THE  ROAD

SCIENCE OF MUNOZ, NUEVA ECIJA
, APRIL 8, 2007
 (STAR) Rudy A. Fernandez - The country’s first Pinoy Farmers’ Mobile Internet Bus (MIB) is now on the road.

The MIB was launched recently by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture (OPAPA), a network of 20 government and private national and international entities that provide education, training, extension, and communication in agriculture, making information more accessible to those who need it.

The MIB is a 1991 Mitsubishi Rosa Microbus converted into a mobile Internet bus to deliver basic ICT (information and communications technology) training to extension workers in remote areas, initially in Nueva Ecija.

OPAPA developed the Pinoy Farmers’ MIB after the successful ICT caravan last year, where the big mobile IT classroom buses of the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) were used.

"We want a smaller bus that can move in tight corners and smaller roads in remote areas. We also want to bring down the cost of fuel and maintenance with a smaller bus," said OPAPA program director Roger Barroga of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice).

OPAPA is led by DA-PhilRice, whose central experiment station and main office are situated along the Cagayan Valley Road in this science city.

The participants are agencies of DA, DOST, national and provincial governments, two international institutes, and state colleges and universities (SCUs).

The DA agencies are PhilRice, Bureau of Agricultural Research, Agricultural Training Institute, Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension, and Philippine Carabao Center.

The DOST agencies are the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute.

The SCUs are the Central Luzon State University, Isabela State University, Pampanga Agricultural College, University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City, University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato, and University of the Philippine Open University.

The global institutions are the International Rice Research Institute and International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Aid Tropics.

Other participating entities are the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology, Negros Oriental provincial agriculturist’s office, and the Nueva Ecija office of the Provincial Agriculturist Information Technology Center for Agriculture and Fisheries.

OPAPA aims to empower about one million farmers and 10,000 extension workers by giving them access to knowledge banks, distance learning opportunities, and an open environment that links various stakeholders in agriculture.

The OPAPA Internet mobile bus has its own power generator, projection system, and audio-video system for on-board training and viewing of VCD learning modules.

The MIB was initially used to train 60 youth and farmer-leaders in three barangays in this city on computer use and surfing the Internet.

The training was an activity of the Muñoz Cyber City chaired by Mayor Nestor Alvarez, one of the 12 cyber communities so far established by the government across the country to link knowledge centers, local government units, farmers’ cooperatives, and markets through ICT.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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