Shorter harvesting time for Falcata and Yemane feasible

The suggested cutting age of falcata and yemane ranges from eight to 12 years old, but through a research by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), it is now feasible to harvest falcata and yemane trees at half the usual harvesting age.

Led by Dr. Marina A. Alipon, the FPRDI project team conducted a project on anatomical, physico-mechanical and veneering properties of young-aged falcata and yemane. This project was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Falcata (Falcataria moluccana (Miq.) Barneby & J W. Grimes.) is a widely cultivated fast-growing tree species in the Caraga Region. The end-use of falcata lumber is only for low construction purposes such as sash, door and panel cores, wall boards, and veneers; of which strength is not a critical requirement.

On the other hand, yemane (Gmelina arborea) is a general-purpose wood, which is used as plywood, blackboards, frame core, and cross bands of flush door shutters. Because of its lightweight stability and durability, its timber is highly valued for door and window panels, joinery, and furniture especially for drawers, wardrobes, cupboards, kitchen and camp furniture, and musical instruments.

Research results also show that wood of falcata and yemane can be utilized for uses where strength and hardness are not critical requirements. So, instead of waiting for eight to 12 years, falcata may already be harvested at four years old (with at least 16 cm diameter) and yemane at six years old (with at least 16.3 cm diameter).

According to Dr. Alipon, the key to harvesting falcata and yemane at a younger age is seed quality. Superior seeds with identified mother source can produce falcata and yemane that grow faster than usual.

The Mindanao Tree Seed Center (MTSC) supplies quality planting materials to address the need of forest production and protection. Currently, MTSC continuously produces improved and fortified forest tree seeds and develops protocols to improve quality of seeds forspecific areas such as mined-out, reforestation, and tree plantation areas through different seed quality enhancement treatments. The center is based in Maharlika, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur.

Use of young-aged falcata may be favorable economically for veneer producers, but not for tree farmers and plantation owners, as selling falcata trees with small diameters would have low selling price. With this, it is highly recommended to optimize the pricing and commercial mechanisms for a more stable economic trading, satisfying both buyers (wood processing plants) and sellers (tree farmers/plantation owners).

With the high demand of wood in the country, this may help widen the raw material base of the local wood-based industries (Eirene Grace Z. Arcayos, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services)

DOST’s textile institute opens collaborative space for designers and textile innovators
By Jachin Jane O. Aberilla, DOST-STII

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) has officially launched its PTRI Textile Gallery, Design and Innovation Hub and the Philippine Textile e-portal as part of the 2021 Tela Conference with the theme “Fashioning Philippine Textiles in the Now Normal and in the Year of the Creative Economy” on 28 January 2021.

The newly launched textile hub is the place-to-be for all those who need workspace and who want to collaborate with other textile innovators where they can take advantage of the DOST-PTRI’s facilities and expertise.
 The hub will not only showcase the latest innovation in the textile industry, but it will also be opened for designers, MSMEs, and start-up companies as a collaborative hub where they can come together and showcase the talent and designs, enabling them to develop innovative Philippine textile products.

Miss Universe PH 2nd runner-up, also a textile advocate, Michelle Gumabao personally gave a tour of the textile hub that showcased its many features. It has an exhibition space where DOST-PTRI’s products such as natural dyed textiles and woven fabrics from all over the country are displayed.

Likewise, its wide space can also be used by fashion designers and entrepreneurs for product and collection presentations. While its conference room is ideal for more intimate and virtual meetings. The hub also has co-working spaces that are ideal for product prototyping and technical consultations.
Textile goes digital
The DOST-PTRI also launched its e-portal called the Philippine Textiles Portal (, a project initiated after the Great Women Project II, a collaboration with the Philippine Commission for Women (PCW).

The online platform aims to connect people with the handloom weaving and natural dyeing communities. The website houses relevant information such as the history of the Philippines’ weaving and dyeing culture, a color library, and a directory of communities and producers of local fabrics that can be matched with both domestic and international buyers.

“This is a physical and also virtual space for collaboration among our various textile stakeholders, whether they be in the National Capital Region or they are designers, social enterprises, entrepreneurs, or our weaving communities and dyeing communities in the provinces and other regions,” says DOST-PTRI Director Celia B. Elumba in her opening remarks. “The goal is to reach all textile innovators from all over the country.”

The e-portal will also serve as online one-stop-shop for customers, suppliers, weavers especially Women’s Micro‐ enterprises/ Women Micro Entrepreneurs (WMEs) to network with each other, thereby widening the market reach of WMES to help them increase their sales.

To know more about the TELA Gallery, Textile Design and Innovation Hub and Philippine Textile e-Portal, interested parties can send their inquiries through an email to (S&T Media Service)

Frequently-asked questions on the food and nutrition security and coping strategies of Filipinos during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. What is the Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey or RNAS?
The Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), as the country’s lead government agency in food and nutrition research, regularly conducts nutrition surveys to provide current nutritional status of the Filipino population.
Results of these nutrition surveys may serve as guide in policy recommendation and development and implementation of food, nutrition, health and other related programs of strategies to prevent undernutrition.  
However, due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) in 2020 was discontinued as field researchers deployed all over the country were pulled-out.
Instead, the DOST-FNRI conducted a Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey (RNAS) from November 3 to December 3, 2020 which shows snapshots of nutrition and food security situation of Filipinos during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Provinces and highly urbanized cities (HUCs) covered by the RNAS were clustered into Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and categorized into low-, medium-, and high-risk to COVID-19 infection.
High-risk areas included Parañaque City, Lapu-Lapu City and Pateros.
Pangasinan, Southern Leyte, and Zamboanga City were under medium-risk areas, while low-risk areas were Angeles City, Guimaras, and South Cotabato.
This was based on IATF announcement on July 15, 2020 and the number of COVID-19 positive cases from the DOH NCOV tracker as of July 16, 2020.
The RNAS covered 5,717 households with 7,240 individuals.
Respondents comprised of 792 (10.9%) children under two years old (0-23 months), 1,995 (27.6%) preschool-age children, 4,305 (59.5%) school-age children (6-12 years old), and 148 (2.0%) pregnant women. The mothers or caregivers were the ones who answered the survey in behalf of the young children.
Data collection for the RNAS was done through phone interview using the recorded mobile numbers of the ENNS respondents in 2019.
2. What are the highlights of the results of RNAS?
Employment, food security, food accessibility, access to health and nutrition programs for children, including pregnant women, are priority concerns during pandemics and disasters in areas covered by RNAS. These priority concerns if not addressed accordingly may increase the proportions of the population with nutrient deficiencies and undernutrition. This could lead to frequent illness that weaken the immune system, which in turn, increases susceptibility to COVID–19 and other viral infections resulting to tremendous medical cost, lost opportunities, and economic drain.
3. How was the food security status during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Six out of 10 (62.1%) of surveyed households in RNAS reported that they experienced moderate or to severe food insecurity. Food insecurity peaked between April and May 2020 during the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
 The RNAS also showed that food insecurity was highest in households with children (7 out of 10) and households with pregnant members (8 out of 10).
 Food insecurity was higher in low- and moderate-risk COVID-19 areas than in the high-risk areas. Food insecurity is the state in which people are at risk or actually suffering from inadequate food consumption to meet nutritional requirements as a result of the physical unavailability of food, their lack of social or economic access to adequate food, and/or inadequate food utilization, according to the Global Forum on Food Security of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
4. What were the coping strategies of Filipinos in  acquiring  food  during the pandemic?
Food insecure families adapted various strategies to avail of food during the pandemic. The RNAS showed that 71.8% purchased food on credit, 66.3% borrowed food from relatives and/or neighbors, 30.2% engaged in barter or exchange of good for food, and 21.1% reported that they limited the amount of food they consume in favor of young children.
5. Was access to basic nutrition and health services affected during the COVID-19 pandemic?
According to RNAS, there was a significant reduction in the participation level of respondents to some basic nutrition and health services.
Participation to Operation Timbang Plus (OPT) went down from 83% in 2019 to 51.1% in 2020, vitamin A supplementation from 65.4% to 54.9%, deworming from 60.4% to 35.3%, and participation to supplementary feeding from 21.6% to 11.9% during the same period.
6. How was access to  maternal health services during  the pandemic?
Among the pregnant women respondents of RNAS, 15.5% did not undergo prenatal check-up. Reasons included fear of going to any health facility due to COVID-19 (39.1%), 34.8% said they are not aware of current pregnancy, 13% had no money to go to nearest health facility, and 13% said that they are busy, had no time, or not interested. The Barangay Health Center was reported by 69.6% to be the most accessible health facility. Moreover, 14.2% of pregnant women did not take vitamins and minerals supplements.
7. Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect breastfeeding practices?
Fortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic did not drastically affect breastfeeding practices, as almost 6 in 10 or  59.7%  of children 0-23 months old were currently breastfed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the RNAS also showed that 6 in 10 or 60.8% of children 0-5.9 months old were reported to be exclusively breastfed. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breastmilk, according to the World Health Organizations (WHO, 2019).
8. How did mothers and caregivers access breastfeeding and complementary feeding information?
Information on breastfeeding and complementary feeding continued to be seen on various communication channels and sources such as traditional media, online media, and healthcare facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the RNAS, 20.1% reported to have access to breastfeeding and complementary feeding information. Sources of information included healthcare facilities (67.1%), television (25.9%), social media (22.8%), printed materials (13.9%), and radio (7.6%).
9. How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect employment?
According to the RNAS, almost 2 in 10 or 16.7% of household heads lost jobs during the pandemic and this was highest in high-risk areas at 18.1%. However, almost 2 in 10 or 16.5% had job opportunities and this was highest in medium-risk areas at 18.6%. Most of these job opportunities were service- and agriculture–related.