The Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) is all set to showcase the best of its agri-aqua research and development (R&D) outputs from 2010 to 2016 in an event dubbed as SIPAG FIESTA from March 2 to 4 in PCAARRD’s headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.
SIPAG stands for PCAARRD’s Strategic Industry S&T Program for Agri-Aqua Growth. It embodies the Council’s commitment to ensure that, through science and technology (S&T), the fruits of its R&D activities will be a blessing to every Juan.
Meanwhile, PCAARRD’s Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda or FIESTA, one of the Council’s technology diffusion strategies, typifies a fiesta atmosphere in enhancing technology transfer and commercialization of local agri-aqua products, allowing every FIESTA celebration to be a profitable venue for micro, small, and medium enterprises.
Thus, SIPAG FIESTA will feature exhibits, techno forum, techno demo, and other activities in true festive tradition.
“We believe in our science and technology workers—the engineers, inventors, scientists, among others—we empower them. When we empower them, especially with guided and directed research, they become more capable of generating work and products at par with most of the world,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo about local technologies to be featured in the event. “And the more we empower them, the better can we engage them in the work of science and technology in building nations and individual lives.”
For SIPAG FIESTA, PCAARRD has identified eight notable technologies to be highlighted:
Carrageenan Plant Growth Regulator (CPGR)
Developed by the DOST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, CPGR is carrageenan extracted from seaweeds and further broken down using gamma radiation, a type of electromagnetic radiation comparable to X-rays. In multi-location trials conducted in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, and Iloilo, CPGR applied at low concentrations in rice has been found to enhance the yield by 15–30%. Early this year, CPGR were distributed for free to 650 farmers in Pulilan, Bulacan and will be field tested in 2,000 hectares of ricefield in Bulacan.
Improved Lakatan varieties resistant to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) and Cavendish resistant to Fusarium Wilt
The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has developed a line of Lakatan plants mutated through irradiation. Currently, these Lakatan plants are showing intermediate resistance to BBTV. Disease spread was also observed to be slower, compared to ordinary Lakatan.
On the other hand, the program S&T Management Approaches against Fusarium Wilt on Cavendish in Mindanao, has identified the Giant Cavendish Tissue Culture Variant (GCTCV) 218 and 219 as moderately resistant and highly resistant to FusariumWilt, respectively. GCTCV 218 and 219 are somaclones sourced from Taiwan. Somaclones are produced through genetic engineering.
Shrimp Biofloc Technology
Shrimp biofloc technology (BFT),implemented by the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), uses a microbial mat, or multiple layers of microorganisms composed of a combination of bacteria, algae, protozoa, detritus, and dead organic particles. It can enhance feed conversion ratio, which is the measure of shrimps’ efficiency in turning feeds into mass, resulting to bigger shrimps. Moreover, it can stabilize water quality, improve shrimp’s nutrition, and control disease.
Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines or Smarter Agriculture
Implemented by UPLB, Smarter Agriculture aims to help farmers and decision makers to come up with sound and science-based judgements under certain situations. The project, which started in 2013, aims to provide the agricultural sector with a decision support system – such as crop advisories, forecasts, and management - in dealing with climate change using advances in S&T.
The application of gene marker was developed by the Philippine CarabaoCenterand Bureau of Animal Industry in partnership with the Accredited Swine Breeders Association of the Philippines. Gene marker, according to Warwick Crop Centre, is used to identify different qualities or features in the DNA sequence that can be used to differentiate individuals in a population. Ten gene marker protocols or ten official scientific records of scientific experimental observations associated with high litter size, fast growth rate, and meat qualities as well as seven markers for screening of genetic defects and disease resistance were optimized. The adoption of the gene marker technology by the swine breeder farms is expected to increase productivity and efficiency in terms of number of pigs weaned and total weight of pigs produced per sow per year.
Coconut Somatic Embryogenesis
Coconut somatic embryogenesis technology (CSet) is a tool for rapid mass propagation of superior genetic stocks for high yield, pest and disease resistance, and high value products. It is an alternative technique which involves the use of immature flowers, immature embryos, and plumule or the young shoot that grows from the seed of the plant.
The CSet project is funded by PCAARRD and is tested and evaluated by a group of researchers from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), UP, Bicol University, and Visayas State University (VSU).
To date, more than 12,000 plumules were removed and started with tissue culture with 56% efficiency adopting the enhanced PCA-CSet protocol in seven upgraded/equipped laboratories: PCA-Albay Research Center, PCA-Zamboanga Research Center, UPLB, UP Mindanao, Bicol University College of Agriculture and Forestry, and VSU.
Rice Mechanization Program
The Rice Mechanization Program is a P65M project expected to contribute to the reduction of rice harvesting and threshing losses from 4.2% to 1.8% in 2020. It will also help lower the losses from drying rice, from 5.8% to 3.8% in 2016.
The machines, once developed and pilot-tested, are expected to lower production costs and improve rice quality. Part of the Rice Mechanization Program is the development of harvesters, transplanters, and compact rice mills. These technologies were developed by the DOST’s Metals Industry Research and Development Center and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization.
Asexual reproduction of corals for transplantation
Corals asexual reproduction technology for reef restoration involves the collection of dislodged live coral fragments or “corals of opportunity” (COPs) and attaching them to coral nursery unit (CNUs) for quick recovery and regeneration.
A CNU is a metal frame with wires built to hold COPs. These are placed in shallower waters for the corals to grow before transferring them to the reef. Each CNU is designed to hold 500 COPs per batch and can be used several times a year.
This process is expected to increase survival rates upon transplantation in degraded coral reef sites.
Since its establishment in 2012, the Filipinnovation on Coral Reef Restoration Program of PCAARRD has already established 538 CNUs and transplanted 487,158 coral fragments.
When the Filipinnovation program was completed in 2013, the National Coral Reef Rehabilitation Roll-Out Program continued the work using the same asexual reproduction technology ongoing in various sites across the country: Pagudpud, IlocosNorte; Alaminos, Pangasinan; Bagac, Bataan; Subic Bay, Zambales; Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Anda, Bohol; Camiguin, Zamboanga City; and Kiamba, Sarangani.
Overall, the two programs are now in 20 locations across 11 regions namely, Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and ARMM.
Other technologies on various agricultural commodities will also be featured during SIPAG FIESTA.
Another highlight will be the opening of the PCAARRD Innovation and Technology Center (DPITC). As a technology diffusion platform, the DPITC will house a modern exhibition hub, a digital library, a conference facility, and a business hub, among others.
Direct transplantation of COPs in the APEC-Coral Garden by the Philippine Coast Guard (Photo from the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD), DOST-PCAARRD)
The design of the impeller-type ricemill (Photo from the Agricultural Resources Management Research Division (ARMRD), PCAARRD)
(Left) harvester attachment and (right) transplanter attachment (Photo from ARMRD, PCAARRD)
A laboratory technician shows the excision of coconut plumules (Photo by Dr. Maria Lourdes Cedo, University of the Philippines Los Baños)
Giant Cavendish Tissue Culture Variant (GCTCV) 218 and 219 sourced from Taiwan produce an average of 25kg/bunch and 18kg/bunch, respectively (Photo from the Crops Research Division)
A field in Pulilan, Bulacan shows standing rice treated with CPGR (left) while untreated side (right) shows lodged rice (Photo from UPLB)