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

2016-08-tilapia

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

2016-06-adlay

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)

DOT accredits DA-CVRC Agro-Eco Tourism Farm as agri-tourism site

2016-05-cvrc

The Department of Agriculture-Cagayan Valley Research Center (DA-CVRC) Agro-Eco Tourism Farm located in San Felipe, Ilagan City in Isabela was accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as agri-tourism farm/site in Region 2. The accreditation was issued on 23 May 2016 by DOT Regional Director Virgilio M. Maguigad.

The accreditation was pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 9593 declaring a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development, and strengthening DOT and its attached agencies to effectively and efficiently implement the policy.

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CVRC is one of the Bureau of Agricultural Research’s active partners in research and development (R&D) in the region.

Upon hearing the news, BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar, during a writeshop event in Clark, Pampanga on 26 May 2016 exclaimed that “Region 2 is a trailblazer!” He furthered that the achievements of Region 2, DA-CVRC in particular, could be attributed to the R&D investments poured in the region specifically in terms of Institutional Development Grant (IDG) and support to Technology Commercialization (TechCom) activities. With the state-of-the-art R&D facilities, this enabled the region to initiate high-impact research and intensively promote products and technologies across the region and other parts of the country.

2016-05-cvrc2

Agri-tourism (also referred to as “farm tourism”), as defined by DOT, is a form of tourism activity conducted in a rural farm area which may include tending to farm animals, planting, harvesting and processing of farm products. It covers attractions, activities, services and amenities as well as other resources of the area to promote an appreciation of the local culture, heritage and traditions through personal contact with the local people.

According to DOT, an agri-tourism /farm site is a working farm producing and/or showcasing raw and/or processed products.

Certification is being issued officially by DOT to recognize the holder as having complied with the minimum standards and requirements prescribed for the operation and maintenance of farms/agri-tourism sites. ### (Rita T. dela Cruz)

CPAR on organic vegetable results to farmer’s profit

2016-05-organic-veg

Farming equates income, especially to a common farmer. Aside from providing food on the table, farmers cultivate the land to earn money. Sadly though, it is not always the case for our local farmers especially when it comes to organic farming.

Farmers have this notion that organic farming is not as profitable compared to traditional farming. “Mahal, matagal ang kita,” would be their usual response when asked about organic farming. But Ifugao farmers proved this wrong as they many of them have thrived going into organic farming.

It all started with CPAR

When the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) on organic vegetable production project was introduced, through the efforts of Dr. Catherine Buenaventura of the Provincial Agriculture Environment and Natural Resources Office (PAENRO), farmers from Kiangan, Ifugao, conceived a whole new perspective of organic agriculture.

The Ifugao province is known for its favorable microclimate parameters conducive to farming vegetables. In fact, Ifugao is among Cordillera Administrative Region’s (CAR) provinces — along with Benguet and the Mountain Province — tagged as the “Salad Bowl” of the Philippines, supplying about 80 percent of the vegetable market in the country. In the case of Ifugao province, the most common vegetables grown are snap beans, string beans, pechay, Chinese cabbage, eggplant, and tomato.

However farmers were accustomed to the traditional way of farming, which makes use of chemicals inputs as means to manage weeds and pests. This practice led to different issues such as high cost of inputs, and depleting soil health. It is the very same reason why the CPAR team thought of introducing organic agriculture in the province.

Specifically, the project aims to increase the income of selected farmers through the adoption of organic vegetable production techniques, reduce cost of farm inputs, improve farmers’ capability in organic farming, and improve the resource management capacities of rural communities within the province.

Forty farmers from barangays Banguine and Tuplac were chosen to participate in the project. To fully prepare them, two organizational development workshops were provided which resulted to the organization of the Baguinge Organic Farmers’ Association (BOFA) and the Good Shepherd Organic Farmers Association (GOFA) in 2012. Further, cross farm visits to organic farms of the La Trinidad Organic Producers (LaTOP) in Benguet were conducted so that the CPAR cooperators will experience firsthand exposure to organic agriculture practices.

Following the various trainings and farm visits, the 40 farmer cooperators established their greenhouses in a 100 m2 area. Each was provided inputs, including vinyl plastics and various vegetable seeds. Two shredders were given to each of the association in support to the production of organic fertilizers.

Interventions learned and adopted eagerly by the farmers included land preparation activities which consist of decomposing indigenous microorganisms, application of organic fertilizers into the soil prior to planting, and basal application of organic fertilizers.

During the cropping cycles, certain practices were employed to improve soil fertility especially for farms worn-out of soil nutrients as a result of mono-cropping and excessive application of inorganic fertilizers. Farmers were introduced to crop rotation practices. The cropping pattern includes the rotation of leafy vegetables, ampalaya, eggplant, and crucifers with legumes like snap beans and string beans.

Also introduced during the project was the use of fermented plant juice (extracted from locally available plants like sweet potato, malunggay, and kangkong), fermented fruit juice (extracted from fruits in season like avocado, banana, papaya, and guava), and indigenous microorganisms to improve soil fertility. Mulching was also encouraged especially during the dry season. It was done by spreading over the roots of plants a layer of straw, grass cuttings, leaves, or compost to conserve soil moisture.

On pest control and management, various techniques were used to prevent and control the attack of insect pests and diseases on their plants. They used odorous and bitter materials as repellants. They were taught to formulate botanical pesticides and fungicides using the available indigenous plants in the area.

Such practices reaped good results for the farmers, from the shelf life, to taste and size, they have noticed significant differences. Ernesto Dulnuan, BOFA president, noticed a difference in his organic pechay. “The shelf life of pechay grown the organic way is two days while that grown conventionally is only a day,” he shared. Another farmer cooperator Agapita Kimayong, observed a change in her produce as well in terms of size. “Pechay grown under the vinyl cellophane shed is bigger and grows faster compared to that exposed or without a vinyl cellophane shed,” she said.

The quest for healthier, safer food set this project in motion. Market was never a problem for the farmers’ produce. In fact, Ms. Nene Pahiwon, shared how her organic lettuce is sold fast within her community alone. “I don’t need to go to the market to sell my vegetables. Dito pa lang sa amin, ubos na agad,” she said. But for a sustainable market mechanism, a display center for organic vegetables was put up at the area near the Provincial Capitol of Lagawe. A regular market day is set every Wednesday.

Going beyond CPAR

Farmer cooperator, Aquilina Saguilot used to be a fulltime employee. She was the university librarian at the Ifugao State University. Farming served as a hobby for her until she got involved in the CPAR project on organic vegetable production. The knowledge that she acquired through various trainings she attended enabled her to seek opportunities beyond farming. She put up her own organic farm which she turned into a learning site for farmers and students as well.

Now, the Aquilina Saguilot Farm welcomes farmers, researchers, students, and other private individuals who might be interested to learn and venture into organic farming. Her farm stations included various vegetables such as tomato, mustard, pechay, and bell pepper. Whenever visitors come, she would gladly share all of her learnings she gained from the CPAR project.

The CPAR in Ifugao, particularly in Kiangan and Lamut, has been expanding through the increase in the number of farmer adopters. Apparently, Ms. Saguilot is not the only one who converted her farm into organic farming and learning site. Organic integrated farming is slowly gaining ground in other municipalities. ### (Daryl Lou A. Battad)