“SIPAG,” which means diligence or industry, is fittingly used in the title of an event by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) scheduled from March 2-4, 2016. It refers to the PCAARRD initiative “Strategic Industry S&T Programs for Agri-Aqua Growth” or SIPAG.

Combine this with another Tagalog word “FIESTA,” which stands for “Farms and Industry Encounters through Science and Technology Agenda,” another PCAARRD program.

With the event dubbed as “SIPAG FIESTA,” what you have is a grand showcase of PCAARRD’s agri-aqua outputs by the country’s very own scientists and a display of the Filipino’s diligence and industry – all in a festive atmosphere showing all and sundry that indeed, local technology works. 

To be held at the PCAARRD compound in Los Baños, Laguna, SIPAG FIESTA will feature exhibits, techno forum, techno demo, and other activities that will showcase the Council and its partner’s best R&D outputs.

“This culture of science must not only recognize the value of knowledge and research and their translation into data-based strategies. It must continue to instill in all of us something bigger, which is the belief in ourselves and in our capabilities,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo in his message read by DOST Asst. Sec. Raymund E. Liboro during the press conference held at Sulo Riviera Hotel on Feb. 26, 2016. “That is why from the start we have always said, ‘Local technology works.’ And SIPAG is proof positive of that.”

One of the technologies to be featured in SIPAG FIESTA is the Shrimp Biofloc Technology implemented by UP Visayas.Biofloc is a protein rich combination of organic material and micro-organisms composed of bacteria, algae, protozoans and others. This technology helps control the natural microbial activity in aquaculture ponds, reduce the onset of diseases in shrimps, improve shrimp nutrition, reduce reliance on protein from feeds and stabilize water quality through waste recycling. 

“If you go shrimp farming or even if you do pen and cage culture in the Philippines, you can have thousands to millions of pesos,” said Professor Valeriano L. Corre Jr., director of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences of UP Visayas during her presentation of the Shrimp Biofloc Technology at the presscon. 

Another technology to be featured is swine genomics, a gene marker technology which identifies genes associated with high litter size, fast growth rate, meat quality, disease resistance and other traits. Swine Genomics is an initiative to increase pig production per sow per year.

“Our scientists now are working towards increasing the omega-3 content in the fat of pigs,” said Dr. Synan S. Baguio, office-in-charge director of Livestock Research Division of PCAARRD, during the presscon. 

Shrimp Biofloc Technology and Swine Genomics are just two of the R&D outputs to be showcased in SIPAG FIESTA. The others are Modified Carrageenan Plant Food Supplement in Rice, Smarter Agriculture, Coconut Somatic Embryogenesis, Improved Lakatan Varieties Resistant to Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) and Cavendish Resistant to Fusarium Wilt, Rice Mechanization Program, and Asexual Reproduction of Corals for Transplantation – all of theseto further profit farmers and breeders in the agri-aqua industry in the country through technology interventions.

“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 Montejo in his message. “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.”

Biofloc in concrete tanks (Photo from the University of the Philippines Visayas)

Production of shrimp can be aided by the biofloc technology (Photo from the Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division, PCAARRD)

A native sow with its piglets (Photo from DOST-PCAARRD)

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