September 14, 2021

To improve regional agri-resilience, new R&D specialty centers have been established

Six new research and development (R&D) specialty centers are expected to strengthen the agricultural industry’s resilience in the areas.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has set aside PHP208 million for the six specialized centers, which were digitally presented on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

“We are establishing six new R&D facilities in the fields of agriculture, livestock, and natural resources in response to government-led efforts to combat the impacts of the Covid-19 epidemic. “In the new normal,” DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara stated, “these R&D centers will establish facilities, develop new methods, and scale-up projects and efforts toward food resilience.”

The Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) allows higher education institutions (HEIs) to significantly enhance regional research by combining development requirements with existing R&D skills and resources.

The DOST provides institutional funding to HEIs in the regions via NICER in order for them to conduct high-quality research that will accelerate and enhance regional development and industrial competitiveness.

“We aim to enhance regional resilience by providing small-scale farmers with S&T-based aquaculture systems, livestock systems, crop production, and integrated farming systems via (the new) NICER R&D centers,” Guevara added.

The following are the new R&D centers:

  • R&D Center for Garlic and Other Agri-Food Condiments Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in the Ilocos area will construct this. According to Guevara, this will create an integrated crop management system, improve garlic bulb curing and storage, and improve the usability, profitability, and competitiveness of garlic to boost production, decrease bulb weight loss, and raise garlic farmers’ net revenue.
  • A facility devoted to the improvement of the queen pineapple. The Camarines Norte State College (CNSC) will construct the center, which will conduct thorough research on the development of queen pineapple in order to improve its productivity and marketability. It will create pest detection, categorization, and crop protection management software.
  • University of Southern Mindanao cacao research and development (USM). The goal of this project is to offer interventions to increase cocoa output by multiplying and using high-quality planting materials. To produce better cacao beans, the method will update the local cacao gene bank and optimize post-harvesting operations.
  • Native Chicken Research and Development Center. Through improved breeding, feeding, and production management methods suited for local chickens, Western Mindanao State University will assist expedite the development of excellent breeder stocks.
  • The bamboo R&D center of Central Mindanao University. It will intervene in quality standards and processing procedures for bamboo produced locally. It aims to create a bamboo economic value chain and geo-databases of bamboo resources and businesses, as well as investigate additional possible applications of bamboo for sustainable development, climate change resistance, and adaptation.
  • MORE RESEARCH ON CAVE ECOSYSTEMS. According to the DOST, this will be established at the University of the Philippines – Los Baos with the goal of examining the biodiversity of terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates in selected caves using various field techniques in order to generate baseline data for cave biodiversity management.

“We are optimistic that these S&T initiatives will reach a larger number of farmers, allowing them to contribute to the country’s economic development.” We’d also want to see this integration of international and national value chains inspire our young researchers to pursue agripreneurship and help their communities succeed,” Guevara added.

According to her, the DOST expects the specialized centers to play a critical role in developing national industries and cultivating partnerships between government, academia, and industry.

“We see niche R&D centers as tomorrow’s leaders in agricultural innovation and natural resource preservation, as well as a source of motivation for young researchers and engineers to pursue additional R&D for their local communities,” added Guevara.

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