Farmers' app no load of manure

The Voice of America reports that Filipino farmers have a new phone application for more precise application of fertilizer to their rice fields. 
 
According to Danielle Nierenberg at the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research group, "In the Philippines and all over Asia, fertilizer has been overused and misused because no one explains to them how much they need or how to use it." 
 
The service was developed by Roland Buresh at the International Rice Research Institute and is offered free of charge by the Philippine Department of Agriculture.

Farmers call a number and are asked prerecorded questions in Tagalog. They press numbers based on the appropriate answer. Questions include: "Does the farmer return rice straw to the field? and "How many bags of rice did the field produce last year?"

 
After the questionnaire a text message comes back with fertilizer recommendations and when to plant and harvest. 
 
Nierenberg sees the application being used throughout Africa where mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous and information for other crops could be just as useful.

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