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Interest in soybean increases; DA’s program on soybean intensified

 DSC0273The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), in partnership with the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) held the conduct of the “National Review and Planning Workshop on Soybean R&D Projects” on 27-29 June 2017 in Los Baños, Laguna.

The activity is part of a continuing effort to promote the production, processing, utilization, and marketing of soybean in the country towards building a competitive industry. In attendance were BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar, Technology Commercialization Division Head Anthony B. Obligado, Chairperson of the Soybean Technical Working Group (TWG) Rosemary Aquino, Vice-Chairperson of the Soybean TWG Elmer Enicola, regional soybean focal persons, and project implementers from the state universities and colleges, and people's organizations.

Since its institutionalization in 2011, the concerted efforts of other R&D agencies have intensified the implementation of the DA’s Soybean Program. This paved way for valuable results as manifested in the increase in yield and production areas. Soybean has been given importance not only for its nutritional and health benefits but more so, for the creation of employment opportunities and economic profit to farmers resulting to a growing number of farmer-beneficiaries and adopters.

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In his message, BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar encouraged project implementers to further intensify expansion of soybean production areas using the identified quality planting materials. He also instructed the group to ensure that the generated technologies/products should have private partners to fully commercialize and to ensure the sustainability of the developed products.

Furthermore, Dr. Eleazar reminded the proponents to improve on the packaging and labelling to make the products competitive in the mainstream market, likewise, to consider IP registration for the protection of their developed products.

Ms. Rosemary Aquino presented the accomplishments of the program in the past six years since the program was launched. “When we started the program, there was unfamiliarity, a lot of people weren’t aware of the importance of soybean, but through the program, it has been gradually reduced resulting to an increased awareness on the utilization of soybean as food more than the traditional knowledge of soybean as feed ingredients. People become aware of the potential of soybean and the market demand for soybean. These can be credited to the interventions that were introduced by the program on product development and processing,” Aquino explained

She also stressed the increase in number of project implementers mentioning that from five implementing regions, it grew to 17 regions, 4 SUCs, and 3 attached bureaus. She acknowledged that the accomplishments were because of the dedication and commitment imparted by various partner institutions

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The renewed interest in soybeans resulted to numerous groups coming from the government agencies, academe, private sector, stakeholders in the food and feed business aspects of soybean, and even individuals demonstrated overwhelming response and commitment to the development of the soybean industry.

Based on the presentations of the project implementers across the regions, farming communities and peoples’ organizations were noted to have clearly benefitted from the technologies introduced by the program.

There was an increase in production areas among farmer cooperators in Region 2, CARAGA, and other regions. The shift of farmers and entrepreneurs from using GM or imported seeds to the locally-grown seeds, specifically using the identified quality seeds that were produced through the research, was also highlynoted during the workshop. There are now developed products available in supermarkets, pasalubong centers, and even private individuals that are bringing the products abroad. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)