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BAR concludes 12th NTF; innovative R&D products highlighted

The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), concluded the 12th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition on 14 August 2016 at SM Mega Trade Hall 2, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. With the theme, “Pagsulong ng mga Teknolohiya sa Pamayanan tungo sa Maunlad na Pagsasaka at Pangingisda”, the four-day event highlighted important research-generated technologies supported and funded under the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), one of BAR's banner programs. NTCP serves as a vital tool for the development of enterprises and the improvement of agriculture- and fisheries-related industries

One of the highlights of the NTF was the awarding of this year’s “Most Innovative Product”. The award is given to recognize newly-developed technologies generated from the bureau’s supported research and development (R&D) projects and initiatives. This is also part of the promotional activities of BAR, through NTCP, in launching new products to the public to attract a wider and more diverse market.

This year’s winners were: (1st place) Cream Cheese by the University of the Philippines Los Baños; (2nd place) Arrowroot Products by the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 4A; and (3rd place) Nipa Salad Dressing by the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 5.

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Cream cheese from goat’s milk is an innovative product developed by the University of the Philippines Los Banos’ Dairy Training and Research Institute. The product can last for about three weeks when refrigerated. Goat’s milk is perfect for the health-conscious consumer as it is low in fat.

Arrowroot is the base ingredient for this award winning product that was developed by the DA-Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Region 4A. Used as an alternative for corn starch and baking soda, arrowroot powder can serve as the ingredient for foot powder as it also effective in absorbing moisture in the feet which normally causes the activity of odor-inducing bacteria.

Nipa syrup-based salad dressing was developed by the Regional Field Office in Bicol as part of promoting and expanding the underutilized Nipa sap. Just recently, agencies and agriculture-based organizations across the country have been exploring the potential of the Nipa palm and developing them into an array of products including sugar and beverage drink. The Philippines holds the record of being the country with the third largest area of nipa palm plantations in Asia.

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Special citation for non-food product was also awarded to DA-RFO I for their micro nutrient seaweed balls; and special citation for innovative technology to DA-BFAR 5 for their seaweed tissue culture.

Entries were evaluated based on: 1) creativity and uniqueness; 2) relevance to food security; 3) health and wellness; 4) good product attributes; 5) packaging and labeling; and 5) market potential and competitiveness.

The NTF is an annual event of BAR, which happens every August and aims to identify, disseminate, and promote mature technologies in the fields of agriculture and fisheries. It also hopes establish and strengthen linkages and networks with private sector, non-government organizations, local government units, and other government agencies in terms of product marketing.

Around 95 exhibitors joined in this year’s NTF showcasing various products, services, and commerciable technologies on the following categories: high-value crops, natural products/ natural ingredients for health and wellness, organic agriculture, and climate change. ### (DA-BAR)

Harvesting success from seaweeds

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With seaweeds’ wide range of uses from food and fertilizer to cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, seaweed farming has rapidly grown into an industry that offers sustainable income and employment to fishers. The Philippines, one of the world’s biggest producers of the semi-processed seaweed product called Carageenan, cites seaweeds as its top aquaculture commodity, followed by milkfish and tilapia.

Seaweed farming has been generating livelihood for many coastal communities in the country since the 1970s. With seaweed farming not entirely limited to men, the industry has also opened livelihood opportunities for women, with some becoming economically active for only the first time.

Women Winning at Seaweeds

This has been the case for the members of the women’s organizations tapped by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Region 5 in the implementation of the project, “Product Development/Improvement and Commercialization of Seaweeds in Bicol Region.”

Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) under the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), the project tapped existing organizations such as the Tabaco Faith International Church (TFIC) Ladies Association, Tobaco, Albay and Rural Improvement Club of Layog, Barcelona, Sorsogon,

Through the seminars and trainings that the team of BFAR 5 Research Manager Aida Andayog conducted, the members of these organizations were taught how to formulate, produce, develop, package and market food products processed from seaweeds.

“We also conducted trainings and held seminars to educate farmers and the organizations’ members on the principles of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOP),” says Andayog. GMP and SSOP are prerequisites of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points Program (HACCP), an internationally recognized guarantee of the quality of food products.

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Aside from these, Andayog takes pride in the tests that the group successfully conducted to really ensure the quality of their seaweed products. “Our products underwent sensory evaluation to assess the products’ appearance, odor, flavor and textures, and, more importantly, their nutritional value through nutritional evaluation. We also conducted microbiological analysis of our products, such as seaweed juice, pickled seaweeds and nata de seaweeds, as well as nutritional analysis of various seaweed-finished food products,” Andayog adds.

According to Nimfa B. Moreno, a seaweed processor and member of the TFIC Ladies Association, not only has the project provided the seaweed processors with additional knowledge on the processing of seaweed for food, thus increasing their income opportunities, but has also taught the people in the communities to use their time well by taking part in seaweed-related ventures. She says the biggest benefit of the project was that it made the people realize that they can help themselves through entrepreneurship, and this helps make sure that the purpose of the project will continue even after the project is concluded.

Seaweed-based products expand into enterprises

Aside from the commercialization of seaweeds and processed seaweed products in Bicol, the project also aimed to establish village-level seaweed production and processing enterprises, providing greater chances for Bicolano fisherfolk and seaweed processors to engage in agribusiness. Thus, to further pursue this goal, the project, “Commercialization of Seaweed Products and Other Fishery Value-Added products in Bicol Region,” was implemented by BFAR-Region 5.

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The demand for seaweed-based products can be easily met by the six Bicol provinces now actively engaged in seaweed farming: Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate, with Sorsogon being the top producer due to its vast coastal waters. To encourage even more fisherfolk and coastal communities to engage in seaweed farming and product development, various techno-demo and training activities were conducted by the projects.

The uniqueness, taste, and nutritional value of Bicol-made seaweed products, which Andayog noted as their competitive advantage, play a significant role in commercializing and marketing them. According to her, “Seaweeds are nutritious. They can help build and sustain the broad nutritional requirements and balance of vitamins, minerals and vital nutrients on which optimum health and vitality depend.”

In 2012, the TFIC Ladies group produced about two tons of pancit fortified with seaweeds which were marketed and sold in Manila and Cebu, even reaching as far as South Korea. Developed and packaged seaweed products were also displayed and marketed by the organization in various trade fairs and exhibits for product promotion and market-matching.

Seaweed pancit and nata de seaweed have both given the project beneficiaries return-on-investment (ROI) of 65 percent on the average, with annual net income hitting Php93,600 and Php15,360, respectively. Seaweed pickles yielded a net income of Php34,512 with a 70 percent ROI.

Other food products derived from seaweed also posted high ROIs: seaweed marmalade (89 percent), candied dried seaweed (86 percent), seaweed chips (79 percent), seaweed cracknels (67 percent), seaweed chocolate (85 percent), seaweed tart (71 percent), seaweed morcon (94 percent), seaweed longanisa (66 percent), fish lumpia with seaweeds (76 percent) and yema with seaweeds (55 percent).

Seaweed products continue to provide extra income, not only to the women of the TFIC, but also to other organizations that BFAR Region 5 has trained. And, as these and other products to be developed improve in taste and quality, it will not be long before these become national and international hits, and good sources of health and wellness, income, and pride for the Bicolanos. ### (Mara Shyn M. Valdeabella)

CLSU’s tilapia ice cream featured in BAR’s tech forum and product exhibit

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A truly unique and innovative product highlighted during then recently concluded 12th National Technology Forum and Product Exhibition (NTF), organized by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), was the tilapia ice cream.

The product, which was developed by the College of Home Science and Industry (CHSI) of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), has created a stir among food enthusiasts and visitors of the exhibit. In fact, many people got curious about this unusual ice cream flavor that they had to try and judge it for themselves if indeed there was no fishy taste.

Recently, tilapia ice cream was also awarded a gold medal for being a novel dessert among 350 items from 25 countries that were showcased in the Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire (SIAL) Asean Manila 2016 food exhibit at the World Trade Center in Metro Manila. The event was sponsored by a Paris-based global network of shows dedicated to the food industry

The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), under its National Technology Commercialization Program, supported the technology enhancement and commercialization of tilapia ice cream along with the developed tilapia cookies optimally aligned to consumer preferences. Varieties include tilapia ice cream with tilapia praline, tilapia ice cream sansrival, and tilapia ice cream with tilapia cookies. On other hand, tilapia cookies are available in thin plain tilapia cookies, tilapia cookies with tomato jam, and tilapia hermits dipped in lemongrass-pandan chocolate.

Way back in 2002, BAR has supported the development of value-added products from tilapia in Region 2. Products included tilapia longganisa, nuggets, tocino, and roll. As one of the agencies actively developing technologies to improve the propagation of improved breeds of tilapia, the CHSI-CLSU hosted the Tilapia Food Festival in 2011 that paved way to the development of more and more products, dishes and even beverages utilizing tilapia meat as main ingredient. This is also through the challenge and encouragement posted by that CLSU president, Dr. Tereso A. Abella

“Selling processed tilapia is more profitable than selling them in fresh form,” Prof. Dana G. Vera Cruz, project leader and chair of the CLSU department of hospitality management.

Surprised with their award received, Prof. Vera Cruz shared that they’ve prepared 350 cups of tilapia ice cream displayed and tasted by a lot of exhibitors and walk-in visitors that delighted food tasters with the absence of aftertaste.

The tilapia ice cream will be featured in the SIAL Paris 2016 Food Exhibit in October; the World Champions Tour in Jakarta, Indonesia in November; and in Abu Dhabi in December. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino, DA-BAR)

BAR sets the stage for the 12th agri and fisheries tech forum and exhibit

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The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) is set to stage this year’s 12th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition on 11-14 August 2016 at SM Mega Trade Hall 2, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

The four-day event is organized by BAR and highlights some of the important technologies generated under its National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), one of BAR's banner programs. NTCP serves as a vital tool for the development of enterprises and the improvement of agriculture- and fisheries-related industries.

The technology forum and product exhibition aims to identify, disseminate, and promote mature technologies in the fields of agriculture and fisheries, and to establish and strengthen linkages and networks with private sector, non-government organizations, local government units, and other government agencies in terms of product marketing.

The event also opens opportunities for agri-prenuers and entrepreneurs to capitalize on various R&D technologies that were already developed and generated, for the farmers and fisherfolk to showcase their own produce as well as for the private sector to adopt these technologies on a commercial scale.

The event is expecting to accommodate more than 90 exhibitors showcasing various products, services, and commerciable technologies on the following categories: high-value crops, natural products/ natural ingredients for health and wellness, organic agriculture, and climate change.

Exhibitors are represented by BAR’s R&D partner institutions including DA attached agencies, staff bureaus, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs), Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Centers (RIARCs), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Regional Offices (BFAR-ROs), Regional Fisheries Research and Development Center (RFRDCs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), international organizations, and private sector.

There will also be technology presentations in the form of seminars, business matching for possible partnerships, and other ventures for profitable agricultural enterprises.

Among the highlights of the event will be the launching of the audio-visual presentations of the NTCP Primer and the Technology Commercialization on Wheels, and books/publications funded under BAR’s Scientific Publication Grant (SPG).

The conduct of the technology forum coincides with the 29th BAR Anniversary celebration. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)

Adlay emerges as another health-promoting food staple

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A better appreciation of adlay as a traditional food staple in the country, alongside rice and corn, was set in motion in 2010, when the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) developed a research and development (R&D) program to explore the potential of adlay.

Pioneering this initiative, BAR presented a breakthrough in adlay R&D in 2011 by establishing adaptability yield trials (AYT) in selected regions across the country. This was carried out through collaborative partnerships with various government and non-government organizations. In 2014 the AYTs were accomplished by all regions following full cropping cycles, generating significant results from cultivation, nutrient composition, to production and post-production management practices, which were central to the crop’s kickoff as another high value commodity.

What is adlay?

Unknown to many, adlay has been around for over centuries particularly in some parts of Southern and Eastern Asia. In the Philippines, it has been growing abundantly in the Zamboanga Peninsula. In fact, it is a staple food for the Subanens, a group of indigenous people in Zamboanga del Sur.

Adlay, scientifically known as Coix lacryma-jobi L., is an indigenous crop that comes from the family Poaceae or the grasses, where wheat, corn, and rice belong. It is often referred to as “Job’s Tears,” as its grains resemble a tear-like shape. A tall-grain bearing tropical plant, its stem grows from 3 to nearly 10 feet tall, with sword-shaped leaves. Grains are usually harvested 5-6 months after sowing, which can thrive for two cropping seasons both wet and dry

The AYT results show that adlay performs best in higher elevation but can also thrive in lower elevation preferably during the wet season. It can be planted as hedgerows and can also be intercropped with fruit trees and plantation crops such as coconut, banana, citrus, mango, and coffee. Although adlay is resistant to pest and diseases and can be grown as a pesticide-free crop, it responds well to organic fertilizers. Pulot, gulian, tapul, and ginampay are the four known local varieties of adlay.

Adlay R&D

Following the success of the yield trials, BAR has been supporting a total of 51 projects as of February 2015 under the adlay R&D program, which are implemented by the DA regional field offices, state universities and colleges, Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, and University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).

In the program’s effort to develop, promote, and utilize adlay to contribute to the country’s bid to achieve national food security, adlay seeds are being increased for production, processing, distribution, promotion, and further research. Furthermore, various production technologies were developed which include adlay production techno guides, improved management practices, and value-added products. Postharvest mechanizations were likewise developed including a modified rice-thresher for adlay, and a micro-milling machine.

Another noteworthy accomplishment under the adlay R&D program is the rise of adlay champion products from the regions. Gourmix, developed by researchers in the Cagayan Valley Research Center (CVRC) in Ilagan, Isabela, is a health food made up of adlay grits, turmeric, ginger, malunggay powder, ground mungbean, soybean, white corn grits, and rice. Currently, Gourmix is being used in various feeding programs of public and private groups. Other well-known adlay products include adlay breakfast cereal, wine, polvoron, puto, champorado, and coffee, among others.

With these already available products, BAR commissioned UA&P to conduct a market research for adlay to determine its acceptability in the market, design appropriate product development, and come up with a marketing plan both for adlay grains and processed products. The highlights of the results consist of a high percentage on the potential buyers of adlay which can be over 80 percent despite of its low public awareness. Also, adlay got a positive nod from the respondents in terms of its processed products such as the adlay breakfast cereal and Gourmix, underlining its nutritive properties. According to a chemical analysis released by Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) in 2011, adlay is superior in terms of its food energy content (365 kcal), carbohydrate content (73.9 g), protein (12.8 g), and fat (1.0 g) compared to rice and corn.

At present, the adlay R&D program is continuously working towards the expansion of production heeding its commitment to stabilize food supply and market prices. Revealing its numerous potentials through R&D, BAR hopes to encourage and sustain productivity while ensuring a self-sufficient, healthy staple food for all Filipinos. ### (Daryl Lou A. Battad)