Pointwest Developers Build Rice Variety Picker App, Bags Award at First IRRI-Smart Bigas Hackathon

November 11, 2012

Los Ba̱os, Laguna, Philippines РThe world has gone completely mobile and unwired that even the most unlikely things have apps built especially for them.

Unlikely things like rice.

But it can’t be all that unlikely if it could gather some of the Philippines’s brightest IT minds and get them to tackle real-world problems using their high-value tech skills. On November 10 and 11, 2012, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), with SMART Communications, did exactly that with the first-ever Bigas Hackathon. Bigas is Filipino for rice, and the event is part of IRRI’s campaign to help the country’s rice sector go digital.


Developers, computer programmers, web interface designers, and other tech-savvy professionals were given the opportunity to build applications addressing the challenges rice stakeholders, particularly farmers and agricultural scientists, are facing.

One of the applications featured was Binhi, a mobile app conceptualized, designed, and built by a group of Pointwest developers. Binhi was named the Best Farmer InfoTechnology App at the Hackathon.

Binhi is designed to help farmers choose the most suitable rice variety to plan,” said Raymond Balingit. “It has a sample database, and anyone can search for rice varieties by either typing in the rice variety’s common name or scanning a QR code.”

The app’s most useful feature, however, is the recommendation function. “Users, especially farmers, can fill out a checklist, and the app provides a ‘rice recommendation’ based on the answers given,” Mr Balingit said.

Team Binhi was given only 19 hours to build the prototype; they want to keep working on the app and roll it out to the public. “Hopefully we get to polish the app,” said Mr Balingit. “This depends, though, on the IRRI, since we would need to consult with their scientists, so we can beef up Binhi’s database.”

Joining Mr Balingit on Team Binhi are Joan Antonette Bautista, Jason-Bourne Escolano Manzala, and John Louis Perez. All team members are Pointwest developers, but their joining the contest was a personal endeavor.

Other awards given out at the Hackathon were the Best Innovative App/ Special IRRI Award (EnviLog), Best Research Data Collection App (ISWater), and Best Game App (Araro).