MARDI Director General, YBhg. Datuk Dr. Mohamad Roff bin Mohd Noor Visits PCAARRD
Officials from the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) headed by YBhg. Datuk Dr. Mohamad Roff bin Mohd Noor, Director General (DG) visited the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) last June 26, 2019.
MARDI is a statutory body under the Malaysian Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry conducting research in agriculture, food, and agro-based industries.
Along with Dr. Mohamad Roff are Mr. Mohd Rashid bin Rabu, Director, Governance & Legal Centre; Ms. Nur Aida Mohd Padzil, International Networking Programme, Corporate Communication Centre; and Mrs. Datin Rahmah Hussin, wife of Dr. Roff.
The visit was to formalize the ceremonial signing of the PCAARRD-MARDI Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as well as to discuss its work plan of cooperation from 2019 to 2024. To maximize the visit, the MARDI team also visited other agriculture-related agencies in Los Baños including the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), National Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology (UPLB-BIOTECH), and the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
They also conducted a benchmarking mission on coconut at the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) – Region IVA in Lucena City.
The PCAARRD Directors’ Council (DC) members and representatives, led by its Acting Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, welcomed Dr. Mohamad Roff and other delegates from MARDI. They were toured at the S&T Promotion Hub of the DOST-PCAARRD Innovation and Technology Center (DPITC) and the Seeds and Seedlings Plaza SciCAT Farm Tourism Site, which is a project of PCAARRD with Bureau of Plant Industry-Los Baños National Crop Research, Development and Production Support Center (BPI-LBNCRDPSC).
Technologies and innovations generated from R&D projects implemented by PCAARRD’s partners in the AANR sector were showcased during the tour. A formal welcome, briefing, and MOU signing ceremony followed after.
Dr. Ebora briefly shared the partnership history of PCAARRD and MARDI, which started in 1975 when a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed in Kuala Lumpur by the former Philippine Council for Agricultural Research (PCAR), through its Executive Director, Dr. Joseph C. Madamba; and MARDI, through its DG, Dr. Tan Sri Datuk Hai Mohamad bin Jamil.
He also shared the Philippines’ long history of partnership and collaboration with other Malayan states, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, prior to the birth of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Dr. Ebora assured MARDI’s DG of PCAARRD’s continued support and active cooperation in implementing programs/projects under the MOU.
As a response, Dr. Mohamad Roff shared his excitement to be in the Philippines and in Los Baños as it is his first time to visit the country. He is confident that their visit will be very productive, particularly the discussion regarding the work plan of cooperation for 2019-2024, which is the first step in implementing the MOU.
Both PCAARRD and MARDI committed to work together to achieve the goal on growth and development of agricultural R&D in science and technology (Cyrill S. Estimado, Katrina Kae S. Principe, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services).
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PCAARRD, PCIEERD, and NRCP discuss DOST’s Laguna de Bay R&D Program
Results of the research and development program (R&D) on Laguna de Bay were discussed in a roundtable discussion (RTD) on June 3, 2019 at the Acacia Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
The Councils of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), and National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) were joined by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) in the said RTD.
Led by its Acting Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, the PCAARRD delegation included staff members from the Inland Aquatic Resources Research Division (IARRD), Socio-Economics Research Division (SERD), and Applied Communication Division (ACD).
According to Ebora, DOST has been involved in R&D on Laguna Lake since 1995 during the conduct of the “Integrated Action Program for the Rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay” monitored by the former Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development (PCAMRD). He also emphasized the economic importance of Laguna de Bay in providing 60% of freshwater fish supply to Metro Manila.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, in his address, confirmed that DOST’s R&D activities on Laguna Lake started during the launch of the Basin Approach to Environmentally Sound Management of Water Resources: Laguna de Bay (renamed later to Integrated Action Program for the Rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay) in 1995. Water quality and resource allocation enhancement were some of the outputs in that particular initiative.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), the main beneficiary of the rehabilitation program, managed to allocate the lake’s water resources for sustainable development. In addition, issues and policy gaps identified towards enhanced lake management and its consequent development were also achieved after the completion of the R&D Program.
The work of the Councils of DOST on Laguna Lake were discussed. The National Research Council of the Philippines of DOST (DOST-NRCP) came up with a policy brief based on the result of a study focusing on the detection of an emerging estrogenic pollutant. Meanwhile, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) funded the program, SCALE: Synergistic Capacity Advancement in the Management of Laguna Lake. Several researches were also conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and UP Diliman (UPD).
De la Peña said that the greater challenge now is how to maximize and use the results of these researches to define actions that the DOST would take considering the lake’s present status, existing issues and concerns, aquaculture activities, infrastructure projects, existing ordinances and policies, and social projects for all the lake stakeholders.
The RTD was divided into three sessions: 1) PCAARRD-funded Laguna de Bay Aquaculture Projects; 2) PCIEERD’s Water Quality Monitoring Projects implemented by the University of the Philippines Diliman; and 3) B3asic R&D researches funded by NRCP, which included Evaluation of Feral Fish Biomarkers for Monitoring of Estrogen Pollution in Laguna de Bay by Dr. Michelle Grace V. Paraso of UPLB.
The activity was a convergence of efforts not only by DOST but also of other government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), LLDA, and other local government units (LGUs). It aimed to update the status of Laguna de Bay, identify issues and concerns; enumerate the activities in the different parts of the lake (East, West and Central bays); determine the existing policies in each part of the lake; and identify plans/projects of DOST as a major player in the lake rehabilitation.
The activity was attended by a total of 38 participants from DOST, PCAARRD, PCIEERD, NRCP, LLDA, NAST, UPD, and UPLB (Shirley T. Gahon, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services)
S&T Community-Based Farm to showcase effectiveness of S&T interventions
Science and Technology Community-Based Farm (STCBF), a technology transfer modality, is an expanded S&T-Based Farm that showcases the effectiveness of S&T interventions derived from R&D outputs of various institutions.
STCBF is a modality developed by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
It aims to promote wider adoption of the recommended technologies and enhance active participation as well as empower the community, particularly local government units (LGUs) and community-based organizations in promoting the application of recommended technologies.
Interventions are based on the identified needs of the community. It is implemented by a group of farmers in an organization using their own resources as counterpart. Led by a Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) or Community Leader (CL), beneficiaries of the STCBF include a cluster of 20 to 30 farmers.
Baseline information on farming practices and production economics of the cooperators are used to measure the success of the project including its diffusion to other farmers in the community or adjacent areas.
With STCBF, farmers benefit through wider adoption of appropriate S&T interventions, sustainable supply of quality farm products and raw materials that increase farm profitability, community empowerment, better supply chain, and improved partnership and linkages with other stakeholders.
Techno-demonstration farm, capacity building, promotion and linkages, and IEC materials are the four components of the STCBF project.
Projects on coffee, ornamentals (Chrysanthemum), bamboo, sea cucumber, seaweeds, dairy buffalo, mango, rice, tilapia, goat, banana, coconut, rubber, shrimp, abaca, jackfruit, cacao, and vegetables were completed in 12 different Regions. Meanwhile, projects are still being conducted in Region 10 for cacao and Region 12 for rubber.
Newly approved projects on coffee, bamboo, and Falcata in Mindanao, as well as Gmelina in Luzon will soon be implemented (Marizina B. Javier, Yolanda M. Tanyag, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services).
PCAARRD modality to provide quick S&T-based assistance during emergencies and hazards
Science and Technology Action Frontline for Emergencies and Hazards (SAFE) is a technology transfer modality initiated by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) for resilient agri-based enterprises.
It provides S&T-based interventions to prevent or prepare for climate and environment related emergencies and hazards (E&H) in the Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources (AANR) sector. This is DOST-PCAARRD’s direct contribution to disaster risk reduction and management as well as post-disaster community rehabilitation and reinforcement in the country.
It also aims to establish and maintain an institutional Quick Response Management Program as a technology transfer innovation in response to various emergencies and hazards especially in cases of ecological imbalance brought about by climate change, pollution, and other anthropogenic factors. Beneficiaries of the SAFE modality are farming and fishing communities and other agri-based enterprises.
SAFE Components include SAFE Iwas; SAFE Ligtas; SAFE Rescue (Pest & Disease); capacity building; organization and policy; information, education, and communication (IEC) development; promotion and awareness; and information and communications technology (ICT) and ICT build-up.
SAFE Iwas are pre-disaster risk reduction activities, which include preparedness or contingency planning, warning and evacuation, and consolidation of preparations for next disasters. It also includes mitigation, risk assessment, and prevention through hazard mapping, hazard and vulnerability assessment, and structural and non-structural measures.
Meanwhile, SAFE Ligtas are post-disaster recovery activities and rehabilitation or restoration of basic services and functions, which takes weeks to months to complete. It also includes reconstruction in the form of full resumption of services and preventive measures, which takes months to years to complete. Projects on bamboo, cacao, rice, rootcrops, vegetables, banana, and coconut were completed in four regions.
Still being conducted in five different Regions are projects on coffee, vegetables, swine, rice, corn, oyster mushroom, tilapia, pili, and bamboo (Marizina B. Javier, Yolanda M. Tanyag, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services).