Building on a promising initial engagement in May 2023, the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) under the leadership of Dr. Cheryl L. Eusala (Charming Edcle), Executive Director and the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) have further solidified their partnership to empower the country’s rubber sector.

The two government agencies first joined forces to explore the use of space technology for a national rubber database system and to combat the threats posed by Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD). Now, they are actively working together to implement these plans. This renewed commitment was marked by a collaborative event held on March 21, 2024, in Zamboanga Sibugay, hosted by the Sulo Naga Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SARBEMCO). PRRI personnel actively participated in the event, showcasing the potential of cutting-edge technologies in the rubber industry. Ms. Daireen Go, Mr. Glenn Corpuz, Ms. Angelica Calapuan, Mr. Garfel James Jaictin.

The collaboration hinges on PhilSA’s expertise in satellite imaging and remote sensing. This technology will be used to create a comprehensive map of rubber plantations across the Philippines. This data will be instrumental in optimizing production strategies and making data-driven decisions for the betterment of the industry.

During the event, there was a demonstration of the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with multispectral data capture technology. This allows for pinpointing specific crops and assessing their health with greater precision and there was the introduction of the Open Data Kit (ODK) for streamlined data collection during field validations. Additionally, OceanOptics instruments were deployed to measure leaf spectral data, providing valuable insights into plant health at a granular level.

This ongoing collaboration between PRRI and PhilSA exemplifies both dedication to propelling innovation within the Philippine rubber industry. By embracing space technology and implementing advanced data collection methods, they are paving the way for a more robust, sustainable, and future-proof rubber sector that empowers Filipino farmers and strengthens the national economy

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