Digitized agriculture needs engineers

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    Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers President Dennis Tactac
    (From left) Agriculture Secretary William Dar and Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineers President Dennis Tactac during the signing on Dec. 17, 2019 of the agreement to train agricultural and biosystems engineers to move forward farm mechanization in the Philippines. PHOTO FROM PSABE

    INCREASING digitalization in current agricultural systems need more engineers and scientists who can work hand in hand with farmers.

    IoT devices to monitor water conditions in rice fields, using drones for fertilizer and pesticide deployment, machine learning for fully autonomous farm machinery and artificial intelligence for crop rotation and soil fertility simulations, the use of tablets and smartphones by farmers to watch over their fields with WiFi cameras and sensors are just some examples of the digital transformations in agriculture.

    Recently, the Professional Regulation Commission has accredited the Philippine Society of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineers (PSABE) as the Accredited Integrated Professional Organization (AIPO) for the country’s agricultural and biosystems engineers (ABE). As a result of this move, all licensed ABEs automatically become members of PSABE.

    PSABE President, Engineer Dennis I. Tactac said this accreditation puts licensed Filipino ABEs at par with the world and also makes the digitally transformed agriculture sector more attractive to the youth. Tactac, who is an ASEAN agricultural and biosystems engineer sees a younger generation of engineers and scientists joining the farming and fisheries sector.

     “The role of agricultural and biosystems engineers, is getting more significant as information technology, not just mechanization in farming and fisheries will require using present and emerging technologies to become viable and profitable, in the face of challenges from extreme weather events and increased global competitions,” Tactac said.