DA-BAR reviews 16 corn and cassava R4D projects

To assess project accomplishments in achieving their intended objectives and targets, the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research conducted a virtual progress and completion review of 16 projects under the corn and cassava research for development program on 18-20 September 2023.

Candido B. Damo, Artemio M. Salazar, Paul Joseph B. Ramirez, and Rodel G. Maghirang served as evaluators, who, along with DA-BAR technical focals, provided insights and recommendations to enhance and refine the projects further.

On the first day of the review, three site-specific nutrient management projects showcased significant increase in the yield of cassava through conducted field trials. 

Ramirez, in evaluating the SSNM project led by Jesse C. Descalsota, stated, "very promising yung results, and sana masundan ng upscaling pa, para mas madaming makinabang doon sa results ng project.

Meanwhile, Salazar voiced concerns regarding the intellectual property of the SSNM-Nutrient Expert software for Cassava, especially with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) ceasing operations on 1 April 2019.

"Ituturn over ba sa atin yung model na ginawa ng IPNI or we will be forever dependent on what they have done?" he asked.

Descalsota, who also leads the software project, clarified that he initiated this project to create a team with the capability to sustain the SSNM-NE software. Currently, they receive guidance from Mirasol F. Pampolino, the former deputy director of IPNI and an SSNM expert.

On the second day of the review, pest management projects for corn and cassava coming from different regions took the spotlight. Among them is the project, titled National Assessment on the Incidence of Arthropod Pests and Diseases of Cassava as Influenced by Fertilization and Elevation for Forecasting Models, presented by DA-Bureau of Plant Industry.

The project developed an online-accessible real-time early warning system and database for significant cassava arthropod pests and diseases. This system enables farmers to take immediate actions and interventions before their crops get infested.

Evaluators provided several recommendations to the project, particularly regarding its data collection and forecasting model. 

"These recommendations are intended to assist our researchers, especially our regional teams and partners on the ground. We aim to enhance their capacity, not only in data collection but also in research and publication," Ramirez emphasized.

On the final day of the review, DA-RFO 4A and DA-RFO 2 presented their respective projects under the Corn Germplasm Utilization through Advanced Research and Development (CGUARD). During the discussion, Maghirang inquired about the availability of a book or monograph compiling CGUARD program materials. Project leader Salazar responded that two volumes are currently in existence, but their online availability is uncertain.

CGUARD aims to conserve and utilize traditional maize varieties, develop breeding populations, and enhance resistance and tolerance of corn to environmental stress. (### Alexis B. del Mar)