DA-BAR showcases 7 latest technologies, innovations in agriculture, fisheries

The DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research, in line with its 36th Anniversary celebration and the 1st National Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Exhibition (NAFTE), featured the latest technologies and innovations in agriculture and fisheries through a free seminar series held on 16 to 17 August 2023 at Teacher’s Hall, Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija and via Stream Yard and Facebook Live. 

Made possible through the funding from the bureau, the seven research for development (R4D) technologies featured were: solar powered hose-reel irrigation system, goat production technology, integrated pest management against mango cecid fly, off-season onion production, oyster culture using floating bamboo raft, WateRice in action, and DA-Food Development Center (FDC) services to agri-fisheries R4D.  

Discussed by Armando N. Espino, Jr., former CLSU vice president for Research, Extension, and Training, the solar-powered hose-reel irrigation system for sustainable crop production has huge potential to help farming communities as it is mobile; hence, can be easily moved between farms to pump water for irrigation. “It can be deployed in remote areas where electricity is unavailable or diesel fuel is difficult to procure. ...It is affordable to small-scale farmers. [It] provides an excellent opportunity for smallholders to improve their livelihoods, economic prosperity, and food security,” he added.

CLSU president Dr. Edgar A. Orden discussed the R4D innovations to improve goat production and profitability as developed through the university's Small Ruminants Center. Among these is the three-way cross (TWC) goat technology, a synthetic crossbreed of 50% Boer, 37.5% Anglo Nubian, and 12.5% Native. Both used for dairy and slaughter, TWC goats also weigh higher during maturity period and produce more milk per day.

Orden also discussed the application of artificial insemination, superovulation and embryo transfer, and multiple ovulation and embryo transfer as well as other technologies developed in line with small ruminant management, breeds, feeding, and milk production. 

DA-Ilocos Norte senior science research specialist Mr. Aries V. Magat started his discussion on how the infestation of cecid fly led to low production of mango in 2014-2020 and caused great alarm among mango growers. In response, integrated pest management against mango cecid fly, utilizing organic-based pesticides, was introduced. Adhering to basic IPM principles, the package of technology included different cultural management practices such as pruning, sanitation, nutrient management, use of biocon agents and other biopesticides and bagging. “Through the IPM technology, the mango production industry has improved,” Magat concluded. 

Off-season onion production technology was discussed next by Salvador M. Bulda, senior science research specialist from DA-Cagayan Valley. 

Done through community-based participatory action research (CPAR), the technology involved 20 farmer cooperators, focusing on rice-based areas in the municipality of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya. Bulda explained that the off-season onion production technology is the crop diversification system, wherein around 100 to 200 sqm is allotted or integrated into the existing rice-based areas. With the regular schedule of planting rice between April-June and July-October, off-season onions will be planted in August and harvested in December. 

“Dito natin natutulungan ang ating mga farmers. Dito natutulungan ng technology na ito ang ating mga consumers. The supply of onion in this area would be stabilized. So, if we have supply during the lean months, ay di masyado tataas ang sibuyas sa merkado. This was the aim of our technology, to help the farmers increase their income and also to help the consumers na di masyado mabigat sa bulsa ang sibuyas,” Mr Bulda underscored. 

The bamboo raft technology, as discussed by Joseph Christopher C. Rayos of DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, was developed and disseminated to increase the productivity of oyster-producing municipalities of Pangasinan–Anda, Bani, Bolinao, Alaminos City, and Sual. 

According to Rayos, the technology, modified to make the raft more durable and resilient against typhoons and strong waves, and increase target production, has benefited oyster growers by reducing mortality rate, enabling faster growth, and inducing better quality meat. “The farmers were able to harvest one ton of oysters (shell-on) after five to six months of culture period,” Rayos added. 

Dr. Manuel Jose Regalado of the Philippine Rice Research Institute discussed the WateRice in Action  project, which aims to enhance rice production through water management technologies in both irrigated and rainfed areas. 

Highlighted among the technologies was the AutoMonPH decision tool, an Internet-of-Things solution that helps automate field water level monitoring and irrigation needs. “[T]he AutoMon detects water level inside the observation well and notifies the farmers and other stakeholders via SMS or text messaging that it is time to irrigate when the threshold water level is reached,” he explained. Regalado also shared some testimonies from the farmers on how the technology has helped them increase their rice production. 

Last on the seminar topics was Carmelita V. Alkuino’s discussion of the significance of DA-FDC services to agri-fisheries R4D. Mandated to provide scientific support in testing, research and training, DA-FDC “shall implement research projects to support science-based food safety policies, standards, and regulations and coordinate these projects with the BAR and the academe,” Ms. Alkuino said.

With services ranging from product testing and analyses, product development, plant inspection and certification, conduct of training, and many more, DA-FDC has  implemented short- and long-term projects to ensure the safety & quality of agri-fisheries food products. 

More than 240 people on average, coming from DA-BAR collaborating agencies,  state universities and colleges, and local government units, attended the two-day blended seminar series.(###Lea B. Calmada and Mara Shyn Valdeabella-Pacunana)