DOST invites Bicol’s farm sector to agri products, technology demo during S&T Week

By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, June 23 (PNA) – The regional office for Bicol here of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is inviting Bicolano agri-industry stakeholders to see for themselves the latest agricultural product innovations and technology which will be showcased during the celebration of the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) next month.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) will handle the exhibition that will banner DOST’s Outcome 1, which is Agricultural Productivity.

It will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City from July 24 to 28, DOST Regional Director Tomas Briñas on Tuesday said.

The PCAARRD commits to deliver results on Outcome 1 which showcases science-based know-how and tools that enable the agriculture sector to raise productivity to world-class standards, according to Briñas.

In particular, the PCAARRD aims to hasten the delivery of technologies to farmers and other clientele in order to achieve higher agricultural productivity, improve product quality, lower production and distribution costs, and strengthen the country’s rural-based micro, small and medium enterprises, he stressed.

Lilibeth Padilla, head of the DOST’s Science and Technology (S&T) Media Service, said these interventions will ensure that there is enough food on the table of every Filipino home.

The council addresses this concern primarily through its Industry Strategic Plans (ISPs), an S&T strategy to accomplish its overall long-term goal of reducing poverty, attaining food security, global competitiveness, and addressing related environmental issues and concerns, Padilla said.

The ISPs are specific plans for 34 selected commodities that include banana, mango, coconut, rice, mud crab, goat, mussel, and shrimp fortified with the corresponding research and development agenda to address demands of a particular commodity industry.

Through the ISPs, Padilla explained, stakeholders involved in the value chain of an industry are provided with a framework to articulate the priorities and the necessary initiatives to realize the outcomes of a specific commodity.

The PCAARRD, represented by Juan SIPAG–a persona of the NSTW mascot Smarty—will highlight in the five-day event the importance of its ISPs as captured in the tagline Strategic Industry Plan for Agricultural Growth or SIPAG ni Juan, she said.

In the NSTW exhibition, she said, the PCAARRD will have four pavilions featuring S&T innovations for aquatic resources, forest and environmental resources, crops, and livestock—the sectors that are integral to achieving the development goals of the country.

The aquatic resources pavilion will feature S&T-based products and tools developed in accordance with global standards and are ready for pilot testing and roll out to enable the aquatic sector to increase production efficiency and improve quality.

The forest and environment pavilion, on the other hand, will showcase technologies for producing quality planting materials and managing plantations to increase yield and farmers’ income, as well as tools essential for decision support systems to promote climate-smart and resilient communities and ecosystems.

The crops pavilion, meanwhile, will focus on information, products, and technologies developed to attain crop productivity and improved product quality following global standards.

These outputs are generated from initiatives such as crop varietal improvement, crop management practices enhancement, harvest and post-harvest improvement, and value adding, according to Padilla.

Finally, the livestock pavilion will present technologies to raise farm productivity and build rural assets.

As a centerpiece of the exhibition, the PCAARRD will put up a booth showcasing eight agricultural commodities and their respective selected technologies.

For banana, the Fusarium wilt-resistant giant Cavendish tissue culture variant somaclones and banana bunchy top virus-resistant Lakatan will be featured; while for mango, it will be its integrated crop management and post-harvest quality management and a feature on hot water treatment.

Others to be showcased in the booth are the local coconut somatic embryogenesis; soft shell mud crab farming; genome-based lateral flow strip biosensor kit for shrimp pathogens; depuration prototype for small-scale mussel farmers; slaughter goat production: the Halal way; and irradiated carrageenan for rice growth promotion.

Bearing the theme Philippines: A Science Nation Innovating for Global Competitiveness, this year’s NSTW event, apart from DOST’s Outcome 1 will also be anchored on the agency’s seven other Outcomes—Enterprises, Industry Competitiveness, Information Technology-Business Process Management, Good Governance, Quality Healthcare, Education and S&T Disaster Preparedness, Briñas said.

“Farmers and other agricultural industry players as well as other S&T stakeholders from Bicol will benefit significantly from this exhibition that as we are enjoining them to find time, efforts and resources to be there,” he added. (PNA)