Soriano visits R4D facilities in USM

DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) director Dr. Junel B. Soriano led the DA-BAR delegation in visiting the various research for development (R4D) facilities at the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), Kabacan, North Cotabato on 21-22 July 2022. This is in line with the bureau’s efforts to further strengthen agriculture and fisheries research for development in the country. 

The team visited the university’s Corn, Fruits and Plantation Crops Research Facilities, Biotechnology Center, Geographic Information Support System Center for High-Value Commodities and Indigenous Crops, Organic Agriculture Research and Development Center, R&D Display Center, and Agricultural Research Center. The different project leaders presented the major activities of each R4D facility and the notable accomplishments that contributed to the development of the agriculture sector in the region. 

The Corn, Fruits and Plantation Crops Research Facilities of the USM Agricultural Research Center aims to establish and maintain insect-proof screen houses; collect and maintain local and introduced citrus cultivars; and identify prevailing insect pests and diseases on the existing citrus plantation, among others. 

The Biotechnology Center, serving as a learning hub, offers services like molecular fingerprinting, molecular diagnostics, molecular technology training, and tissue culture. 

Meanwhile, several products like ginger tea, dried laurel leaves, virgin coconut oil, coffee, and cacao are being processed in the High-Value Crops Processing Center.  These products are sold at the USM R&D Display center. 

Emphasizing precision agriculture, the Geographic Information Support System Center for High-Value Commodities and Indigenous Crops houses the geographic soils information center, the soils and insect museum laboratory, and the farm tourism hub. The center also houses the USM Smart Agriculture Project which integrates smart system components and agriculture to employ precise and efficient strategies to make farming productive. 

Lastly, the Organic Agriculture Research and Development Center serves as a venue to capacitate researchers and other stakeholders on organic and organic-related agriculture production systems.  

The establishment of these R4D facilities were supported by DA-BAR through its Research Facility Development Grant program and the DA-Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund R&D Grant.

The visits also provided a venue to discuss DA-BAR’s current programs, reforms, and new initiatives; as well as the regional R4D agenda,which will be reflected in the R4D Agenda & Program of DA-BAR. They also discussed the process flow of proposal submission and approval. 

Dr. Junel B. Soriano acknowledged USM’s role and contribution to the agriculture and fisheries R4D in Mindanao which produced substantial research results. 

For the USM side, Dr. Ma. Teodora N. Cabasan, vice president for Research, Development and Extension underscored the long and good-standing relationship between the university and DA-BAR in terms of agriculture R4D. This was seconded by president Francisco Gil N. Garcia as he commits the university’s continued support to DA-BAR by submitting significant project proposals for the development of the agriculture and fisheries sector in the country. (### Gian Carlo R. Espiritu and Wilson G. Viloria II)