To involve the youth in agriculture and equip them to become successful agripreneurs, 808 selected agriculture and fishery graduates officially started their internship under the Mentoring and Attracting Youth in Agribusiness (MAYA) program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on 15 March 2021.

“You are the chosen few. You are taking a path forward, a journey, so to speak. The field of agriculture needs all the minds and power that every youth can unleash in terms of elevating and growing Philippine agriculture,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar told the first batch of MAYA interns as he handed over their respective “notice of award” on 10 March 2021 at the DA Central Office in Quezon City.

DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) director Dr. Vivencio R. Mamaril further emphasized that the program will not only provide technical assistance but also serve as a motivation for the youth to be part of different agricultural processes and, later on, be the future leaders of the agricultural sector.

Ang prinispyo ng MAYA program ay ang ating kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. Kaya ang mga batang ito, gusto natin silang maging parte ng komunidad lalo na sa sektor ng agrikultura kung saan sila matututo kung paano bang mag-produce ng pagkain, kung gaano kahalaga ang pagkain sa bawat Pilipino, at bigyang halaga ‘yung mga taong nagpo-produce o gumagawa ng pagkain para sa ating lahat,” director Mamaril said.

Coordinated by DA-BAR, MAYA is a six-month internship program that aims to transform a cadre of young Filipinos into “agripreneurs” or technocrats.

Director Mamaril said that MAYA will be conducted through experiential learning, or a learner-centric methodology, that will enable the interns, who will receive a monthly allowance of PhP 20,000, to put into immediate use the knowledge and skills that they’ve learned in a relevant fashion.

“The MAYA interns will be mentored by designated DA personnel. The first three weeks will be spent in their holding offices, wherein they will undergo a blended approach of mentoring using a specially-designed curriculum that will equip them either as agripreneur or be a part of the employment-ready workforce of the DA family,” said director Mamaril.

Two hundred forty interns were registered collectively under the care of DA regional field offices while the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources offices have 238. More so, 278 interns were enrolled in DA-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute and the remaining 52 were deployed in different agencies and institutions of the department.

“The last 18 weeks will prepare them for the real world. They will be deployed in DA partner agencies, preferably private organizations involved in food production, for them to have better appreciation, understanding, and awareness of how food is being produced,” he added.

Secretary Dar recalled that when he came forth as the servant-leader at DA in August 2019, he has given special attention to entice the younger generation to agriculture through agribusiness, as for him, it is the way forward to unlock the potential of Philippine agriculture.

“Our personnel staff in agriculture are already aging, and thus we need to put up this MAYA program for two purposes. First, they will have to be exposed to the field of agriculture and agribusiness; and second, to actual farm situation and agribusiness operations,” he added.

Director Mamaril challenged the interns that their learnings should not stop when the program ends. He urged them to use their experiences and learnings in entrepreneurial ventures and the country’s food production system.

Because as Secretary Dar believes, “The youth of today can contribute in attaining our ‘OneDA’ agenda, particularly our four major strategies: farm consolidation, modernization, industrialization, and professionalization.” ### (Rita dela T. Cruz/DA Strat Comms, Chantale T. Francisco, and Jireh Alodia R. Laxamana/DA-BAR)

Research results on the management of onion armyworm (OAW) were the highlight during the monthly online seminar of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research on 9 March 2021 via Facebook livestream.

Scientist Mario Navasero of the National Crop Protection Center of the University of the Philippines Los Baños shared relevant information regarding the pest’s migration and infestation patterns, as well as potential strategies for its control.

“This is a ‘transboundary plant pest’ which means that it has the ability to migrate between islands and even countries,” Navasero revealed.

OAW feeds on the leaves of an array of vegetables and crops including onion, corn, rice, ampalaya, eggplant, tomato, hot pepper, legumes, and kamote, among others, which makes it an economically important pest.

Some of the strategies discussed include traps, some natural enemies of OAW, and chemical pesticides.

One of the traps mentioned was the synthetic sex pheromones used to lure the pest’s male adults. Based on studies abroad, it was recommended to have 20 lures for a hectare or one lure per 50 square meters.

Another option was the use of white UV lights which attracts both male and female adults, but with the use of electricity.

Two natural enemies were also identified such as the parasitoid wasps braconid and Telenomus sp. which lay eggs on the worms and eggs of OAW, respectively, at the cost of the pest’s life.

Two microbes were also seen to potentially control OAW. One is the fungus Metarhizium rileyi which grows and encloses the pest in its spores. The other is the Spodoptera exigua Multi Nucleopolyhedrosis virus which causes the pest to disintegrate.

As for the use of pesticide, Navasero advised to use them properly, and to utilize ones that belong to different groups of known modes of action.

The online seminar was participated in by 483 individuals nationwide and viewed by more than 5,000 people around the world on the said platform. ### (Jhon Marvin R. Surio)

The story of how edible landscaping helped empower the women of Surigao del Norte was discussed during the online seminar of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) on 24 March 2021 via Facebook live in lieu of the National Women’s Month celebration.

“The [University of the Philippines Los Baños] (UPLB) came up with an idea to fuse ‘yung dalawa [edible food and ornamental plants], kaya nagkaroon tayo ng edible landscaping [EL] kung saan ‘yung itatanim mo bukod sa masustansya at makakatipid ka kasi mayroon ka ng pagkain diyan ay naka-landscape pa siya,” DA-BAR director Dr. Vivencio R. Mamaril said during his opening message.

UPLB Prof. Rowena P. de Guzman served as resource speaker. As co-project leader, she shared the experiences with The Valley Cathedral Christian Church (TVCCC)–Capangdan, the project’s selected target sector of the community.

TVCC is a Securities and Exchange Commission-registered non-government organization chapter.

TVCCC–Capangdan’s women were profiled and trained to develop their own EL garden design, which was further refined and established by the UPLB EL team.

From the process of site selection, final design presentation, and establishment of the EL garden up to monitoring and evaluation, initial findings on the gathered data provided insights on how the EL garden empowered the women participants.     

Nakakatulong ang edible garden sa aming lugar dito sa TVCCC. Marami nang mga tao [ang] pumunta dito sa amin at saka marami na kaming natutunan at marami na kaming nakilala. . . . Saka hindi na kami mahiyain. Sila [na] rin [ang] pumunta sa amin, [upang] mabisita [ang] aming EL garden,” said TVCCC EL garden in-charge Luzvilla E. Blancada during the impact assessment on women empowerment.

With discussions on companion cropping, organic concoctions, soil mixtures, pest management practices, and requirements, among others, the online seminar garnered 2,149 engagements and reached a total of 7,921 attendees or viewers, which comprises mostly of women. ### (Jireh Alodia R. Laxamana)

To ensure the maximum utilization of technologies generated and developed through supported research for development (R4D) projects while protecting the intellectual properties of partner research institutions, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) initiated two meetings to strengthen its existing Intellectual Property policy in line with the Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009 (TTA) and its revised implementing rules and regulations.

Atty. Marion Ivy D. Decena, Department of Science and Technology-Technology Application and Promotion Institute Invention and Development Division head, presented the overview of TTA on 10 March 2021 via Cisco Webex.

“TTA covers all government-funded research and development (R&D) activities, including institutions that implement it and the intellectual property rights (IPR) derived from it,” Atty. Decena said.

She stressed that “IP protection is only one aspect. There is a need to ensure that the intended beneficiary can use the technology. Ownership of the technology should not hamper in transferring or utilizing the technology. ”

Atty. Decena explained that the research development institutions (RDIs) shall be responsible in notifying and disclosing to the government funding agencies (GFAs)the IPR applications, licenses, and assignments made, as well as the progress of IPR commercialization efforts and all agreements entered and licenses granted.

She further said that GFAs like DA-BAR shall be responsible in protecting the government’s interest in IP and IPRs generated from R&D, monitoring the effectiveness of RDIs in securing IP protection and pursuing IP commercialization, ensuring adequate freedom to use the IP for further research, and allowing revenue sharing from IP commercialization.

Following this meeting, DA-BAR director Dr. Vivencio R. Mamaril requested a meeting with DA-Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) on 30 March 2021 to discuss their Technology Transfer Protocol promulgated in 2019.

DA-PhilRice’s Technology Transfer Protocol has served as a benchmark for other RDIs who were developing their own IP policies.

Dr. Mamaril said, “It is time for DA to develop its national R4D IP policy. And PhilRice, as one of DA agencies with an institutionalized IP office, can provide inputs. Their IP policy can serve as a basis in crafting the national IP policy.”

DA-BAR will continue to intensify its efforts in monitoring potential IPs and IPRs as well as capacitating the bureau’s staff through IP training. ### (Engr. Ethcel Princess P. Libang and Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)

Women researchers, leaders, agripreneurs and their significant contributions in the agriculture and fishery research for development (R4D) sector were lauded online by the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) in celebration of the 2021 National Women’s Month (NWM) through the #JuanaSays campaign.

It is an online advocacy anchored on the namesake initiative of the Philippine Commission on Women that provides a daily dose of inspirational quotes from Filipino women.

Featured in the month-long campaign were:

Dr. Irene M. Adion, 2018 Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Researcher. She ushered the development of the research capacities of DA-Central Luzon’s four research outreach stations by establishing good research facilities and harnessing researchers’ competence resulting in award-winning papers and skilled staff.

Myrna D. Sanchez, 2019 Regional Outstanding Rural Woman. She helped ensure food availability at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by organizing the youth and providing them with the necessary skills in backyard gardening.

Rose Mary G. Aquino, 2017 Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee. She brought to life the Pinoy Gourmix, a vegetable- and protein-rich smart food that has been used in feeding programs nationwide earning PhP 6.8 million net sales from 2014-2019.

Dr. Emily A. Soriano, 2014 Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Researcher. A mushroom expert, she paved the way for improvised community-based mushroom tissue culture laboratories operated and managed by the farmers themselves.

Dr. Leonarda A. Londina, 2017 Regional Gawad Saka Outstanding Researcher. She adopted the Bhoochetana (soil rejuvenation) principles and approach of India and developed locally applicable and appropriate technologies.

Concepcion C. Carillo, 2018 Regional Outstanding Rural Woman. A Magsasakang Siyentista, she co-developed a pelletizer machine that processes organic feeds and uses vermicast as a binder. She also produces bonsais from uncultivated coconut and banana shoots, turning farm wastes into an agribusiness opportunity.

Regina S. Ruferos, 2016 Gawad Saka Outstanding Fisherfolk. She adopted innovations, new technologies, and best practices that spurred her tilapia hatchery to expand. Thus, providing jobs to the locals while imparting her knowledge to them.

Librada L. Fuertes, 2019 and 2014 Regional Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Researcher. She led the use of cashew apple, seldom utilized and neglected, in producing jam, jelly, prunes, among others. The value-adding technology was cascaded to hundreds of farmers through various training.

Lorena V. Duna, 1994 Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee. She spearheaded the identification of high-yielding soybean; developed and introduced soybean cropping systems; and paved the way to ensure the sustainability of the soybean industry in Northern Mindanao through various institutional agreements and partnerships.

Dr. Berly F. Tatoy, 2017 Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Researcher. She conducted R4D projects that eventually led to the availability and utilization of quality, disease-free potato seeds for market-driven potato variety at the community level.

They have shown the indispensable role of women in bringing about change and inclusive growth and development in the agriculture and fishery sector.

Other activities of DA-BAR in celebration of NWM were photo exhibit and painting contest for the rank and file as well as a free webinar for the public on edible landscaping. ### (Rena S. Hermoso)




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