Smarter Pest Identification Technology (SPIDTECH), a smart tool developed for crop protection, was featured on TV Patrol Southern Luzon and DZRH News Television last March 6 and August 9, respectively.
TV Patrol Southern Tagalog interviewed NCPC Deputy Director Melvin D. Ebuenga about SPIDTECH. He is the Project Leader of SPIDTECH. This mobile application was developed under the Project Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry (SARAI). During the interview, Carl Vincent D. Gapasin demonstrated the different features of this mobile application. He showed and explained how it identifies pests and diseases with the use of a mobile phone camera and operates through the use of machine learning technology. Another feature of the mobile application mentioned was the Insect Pest and Plant Disease Library. This library contains data on the identification of signs and symptoms, life stages, management practices, and other pertinent information about pest and disease, enabling SPIDTECH to be used even without an internet connection.
DZRH News Television radio hosts: Dr. Ruby R. Cristobal of DOST-SEI and Angelo B. Palmones also interviewed Deputy Director Ebuenga together with the Program Leader of the Project SARAI, Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon. Project SARAI is a research program funded by DOST. Its main objective is to use state of the art science and technology in improving agricultural productivity amidst the threat of climate change. Dr. Espaldon mentioned that the adoption of smart farming technology innovations has also been very timely with the new normal made by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Project SARAI aims to provide advisories and deliver smart-tools such as Smart Irrigation Management and SPIDTECH.
Part of the features of SPIDTECH is the development of a system that can predict possible pest outbreaks by analyzing the pest occurrence reports and other pertinent information. Fall armyworm (FAW) is one of the pests reported with several pest outbreaks in other countries. According to the phone patch interview with Deputy Director Ebuenga, FAW was first observed infesting corn in the Philippines in 2019. However, according to recent reports, FAW has started attacking sugarcane in various provinces. The remote sensing feature of SPIDTECH is essential to prevent or reduce the critical damage that a possible pest outbreak may cause.