MANILA, Philippines - Calata Corp., the listed distributor of agricultural products, is investing P650 million to introduce data-driven farming practices to the local agriculture sector.
Calata has partnered with Austrian company Pessl Instruments GmbH which develops and distributes climate monitoring and other technologies for farming.
“We want to help farmers to be more efficient on the way they do things in farming and create greater impact on income generation,” president and chief executive officer Joseph Calata said.
Calata is spending P15.6 million for the pilot testing and the rollout of five initial units with hourly seven-day weather forecasting service system to farmers at selected locations.
“It would be text message notifications on weather and early warning on diseases that cites and goes down to most specific village. There are existing technologies like this, but not as accurate as what we can provide,” founder and CEO Gottfried Pessl said.
Although not giving a timeframe, Calata said they target to deploy up to 5,000 units of the system nationwide. A unit costs P130,000.
The iMetos weather station with forecasting functionality will be installed in close proximity to Calata’s agricultural retail outlets to allow farmers to register for the service.
“We want every farmer to have access to detailed and accurate way of technology to use so they can have more savings,” Pessl added.
The trial run of the five units which will start this week will be available to farmers for free but the company will soon charge $10 or P470 per year.
“We hope that Filipino farmers will grasp this technology and we aim to reach the grass roots in the farming industry,” Calata said.
Austrian company Pessl Instruments is known for its technologies that improve yields while saving on costs including weather stations, automatic insect traps, high resolution field cameras, soil moisture monitoring devices and irrigation automation controllers.