Thursday, February 22, 2024

Local agri firm deploys rain sensors for data-driven farming

In an ambitious bid to jumpstart intelligence-based farming in the country, aggressive agricultural firm Calata Corporation is deploying Austrian-made rain sensors to introduce smart agriculture to client farmers in Bulacan.

Photo shows (from left) Calata Corp. founder and CEO Joseph Calata, Pessl Instruments CEO Gottfried Pessl, and Austrian ambassador Josef M?llner
Photo shows (from left) Calata Corp. founder and CEO Joseph Calata, Pessl Instruments CEO Gottfried Pessl, and Austrian ambassador Josef M?llner

Joseph Calata, founder and CEO of Calata Corporation, said in a press briefing that his company has signed up Austrian firm Pessl Instruments for the initial deployment of five iMetos weather stations that will be installed near Calata retail outlets in Plaridel, Bulacan.

The Calata outlets, where farmers buy their farm supplies and implements, will also accept registrations from farmers who would want to get hourly seven-day weather forecasting service via text messaging.

The company said the mobile service will be available for a minimal fee.

With the pilot roll-out of the iMethos rain sensors, Calata Corp. said it now aims to propel the Philippines agricultural sector into the ?Agricultural Internet-of-Things? which is intelligence-based farming that relies on real-time field data to improve decision-making across the entire supply chain.

?Unlike developed countries where farmers have ready access to information and the latest yield-improving technologies, the Filipino farmer is still farming the old fashioned way. We take it as our responsibility to modernize the face of Filipino farming and this partnership is our first serious step in that direction,? said Calata

?With Pessl Instruments as our primary technology partner, we will now invite more stakeholders to be a part of this new digital farming ecosystem which will transform the way we farm in years to come,? he added.

PessI Instruments, whose top executives flew into the country for the contract signing with Calata, is a manufacturer of weather stations, automatic insect traps, high resolution field cameras, soil moisture monitoring devices, and irrigation automation controllers, among others.

?I?m glad to see the Philippines leading the way in South East Asia by adopting technology which makes a real difference to the bottom line of farmers? said Gottfried Pessl, founder and CEO of Pessl Instruments.

?The world of farming is seeing a massive shift towards data-driven technologies and we have been at the forefront of this shift for 30 years. Now, with Calata as our partner, we are excited by the prospects of presenting our solutions to the Filipino farming community?.

Calata said providing accurate weather forecasting will facilitate cost savings to farmer as they will spray pesticides and apply fertilizer more accurately minimizing the effect of water runoff caused by rain.

Upon the successful trial period, Calata said it aims to make the service available nationwide to all farmers.

The iMetos weather station
The iMetos weather station

Meanwhile, Calata recently donated P2 million to a scholarship fund of De La Salle Araneta University (DLSAU), a institution known for agricultural science program.

?This is the first step in reviving our agriculture,? said Calata. ?It?s not yet too late for us to realize a vibrant industry ? the likes of which our neighbors already have because of best practices and cutting-edge equipment.?

The Calata Foundation has a three-part program to achieve food security for the country. One of the three components entails sending qualified graduates abroad for an intensive six-to-eight-month program to Universidad del Litoral in Sta. Fe, Argentina.

Calata said the intensive training in both DLSAU and Universidad del Litoral is expected to produce well-trained and motivated ?entrepreneur farmers? who will help raise the productivity and viability of fields and farms.

A De La Salle University graduate, Calata credited DLSU for helping shape his character and enrich his mind.

?This program is but the beginning,? he said. ?If more people step up to pitch in, the Renaissance in Philippine agriculture will come much sooner. The positive change we all seek should just be around the corner.?


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