Mushroom growing and propagation is an overlooked industry in business and commerce. Though it has sprung as a feasible livelihood due to its low-cost start-up and efficiency, it was still not cultivated enough because of the lack of resources, training, and guidance of experts. But in these trying times, mushroom propagation became a popular venture for urban agriculture.

 

With the shock and heightened distress that the pandemic brought us, considering mushroom growing and production as a business pursuit can be a good income-generating activity for those who wanted to invest in something sustainable without breaking the bank.

 

With the aid of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), in line with its commitment to support and uplift the lives of farmers and fishers, created a program that highlights the right measures and urgency of ensuring food security amid the pandemic. With that, research for development (R4D) agencies have been refocusing and reinforcing their projects to support the DA-BAR’s current initiative.

 

One partner agency is the DA-Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CLIARC) that focuses on boosting mushroom propagation technology. With their current project titled, “Upscaling of Mushroom Crackers as Additional Income Source of Indigenous People in Caranglan, Nueva Ecija in Support to ALPAS-COVID 19,” CLIARC believed that this would help the Binbin Igorot’s Association, mushroom growers, and processors increase their income by 50 percent through the mushroom processing technologies developed by their agency. Funded by DA-BAR, this project can help enhance the skills and productivity of the beneficiaries and can also pave the way to the adoption of a healthier snack alternative.

 

This project is one of the installments of DA-Central Luzon’s main study on mushroom production titled, “Product Development and Shelf-Life Extension of Pleurotus Mushroom Processed Product Categorized into Frozen Foods, Condiments, Sauces, Sweets, and Pastries.” From its inception in 2015, 30 mushroom-based products were produced which greatly helped uplift a lot of lives until now.

 

The beginning of it all

 

With the main goal of generating and introducing low-cost mushroom production and technologies to rice farmers, the main study’s results have indeed come a long way since then. Through DA-BAR’s support, a successful food product line on mushrooms was created through the said study.

 

Marketed as snacks that do not only give consumers fulfillment in taste but also in nutritional content, this project has 10 frozen product varieties that include ice cream, ice drop, kikiam, bola-bola, nuggets, veggie-balls, longganisa, tapa, dumpling, and lumpiang shanghai. Moreover, another 10 mushroom-based products are dedicated to sweets and pastries. These are waffle, cupcake, espasol, macaroons, pie tart, pandesal, brownie, sugar-coated mushroom, glazed mushroom, and maja.

 

And of course, to complete the product line, mushroom-based condiments were also developed by the project implementers. Under the substudy, “Incorporation of Pleurotus Mushroom on the Processing and Development of Condiments, Mixes, and Sauces for Community-Based Enterprises,” mushroom ketchup, pickle relish, gravy, chili paste, fish ball sauce, mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce were developed.

 

In these products, fresh oyster mushroom fruits were harvested and processed to be incorporated in these goods. And to ensure its marketability, the project implementers conducted a sensory evaluation survey to gauge the people’s interest in the product taste-wise. Fortunately, the product line garnered positive feedback from the respondents and has also been commended for the presentation, texture, and varieties of flavor available.

 

The said project has successfully provided additional income to the rice farmers, particularly those who are already engaged in mushroom propagation. During this pandemic where additional income is much needed, this accomplishment sparked the interest of the project implementers to venture on another merchandise that will add flavor and crunch to the product line. Hence, the emergence of mushroom crackers.

 

Forwarding a healthier cracker alternative

 

Deemed as a healthier complimentary cracker, mushroom crackers are “deep-fried puffed crackers made from fresh oyster mushroom and vegetable flour,” as defined by the proponents. With its crunchiness and taste that resembles existing commercial crackers in the market, this product is a promising cracker alternative because of its added vitamins and minerals especially for those who are monitoring their health.

 

The project implementers have this vision to upscale and stretch its commercialization initiatives in DA’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita markets and other cooperatives. To boost its presence and linkages, the project implementers would also like to take advantage of social media for marketing and promotions.

 

A total of 48,000 packs are projected to be produced in this installment. Four thousand eight hundred will be distributed to the less privileged, 4,800 for the frontliners, and another 4,800 to the funding agency. The rest of the mushroom crackers are meant to be sold for the income of the beneficiaries. The production, of course, will be accompanied by hands-on training on the mushroom crackers processing technology and also training and assistance on Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure food quality.

 

Together with the mushroom cracker project, DA-Central Luzon has also been active recently in forwarding other initiatives for the department’s program. One of them is the project titled, “Support to Mass Production of Mushroom Quality Planting Through Mass Propagation Protocol in Central Luzon.” This aims to increase the production of quality mushroom pure culture, grain spawn, and fruiting bags by incorporating mass propagation techniques and protocols.

 

Early on, DA-Central Luzon was also known to be distributing spawn and fruiting bags to community members and associations through its research outreach stations located in Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. Furthermore, with the public’s growing interest in mushroom production and propagation, the Mushroom Technology Development Center under CLIARC in Paraiso, Tarlac City has also launched a webinar on mushroom production through the center’s official Facebook page.

 

Being resilient keeps us afloat during this pandemic, but what can sustain our buoy is every agency’s concerted initiatives and contributions especially for our farmers and fishers. That is why mushroom growing is ideal for those who want to invest in a business that needs low-cost materials and a small space to start on. Aside from being an additional source of income, growing mushrooms can also serve as an efficient food source because of its nutritional value and properties. This can, indeed, help alleviate the threat to food security. (### Chantale T. Francisco)

 

For more information:

Dr. Emily A. Soriano

Agricultural Center Chief III

Department of Agriculture-Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center for Upland Development

Sto. Niño, Magalang, Pampanga

(0906) 245 0622

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As part of the continuous support and promotion of preventive measures to fight COVID-19 through research for development-generated agricultural technologies, the Department of Agriculture-CALABARZON once again contributed to this initiative through distributing virgin coconut oils (VCOs) for free to various frontliners in the region on 13 August 2020.

                                               

The Philippines is the world’s leading producer and supplier of coconuts and traditional coconut products with Quezon province having the largest coconut plantation. This industry continuously yields productive and profitable opportunities to around 3.5 million coconut farmers nationwide and about 25 million Filipinos who depend on coconuts for their livelihood.

 

Among the traditional coconut products, VCO is the most profitable due to its variety of uses from food, cosmetics, and hygiene products with markets in the United States, Canada, Turkey, Germany, and Finland. Nurtured with lauric acid, the VCO helps to maintain weight and helps fight yeasts through ingestion. Apart from disinfecting characteristics, the VCO was also discovered to have anti-microbial, antidiabetic, anticancer, and anticaries properties. Furthermore, the oil was found effective against bacteria, fungi, and lipid-coated viruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C according to a book chapter published by Dumancas et al. (2016).

 

With initiatives to look into the possible benefits of VCO on COVID-19 patients being conducted by various research institutions such as the Department of Science and Technology, the DA-Quezon Agricultural Research Experiment Station (QARES), one of the research centers of the DA-CALABARZON, focuses on the production, commercialization, and promotion of VCOs in CALABARZON.

 

Implemented by DA-QARES through funding support from DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the project titled, Enhancing Women’s Livelihood: Commercialization of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) in Quezon Province, aims to upscale the production, processing, and showcasing of VCOs in the region. Research partners and stakeholders include the CABAYAN RIC, a rural improvement club group composed of women who have active roles in various livelihood projects in the rural households of Barangay Cabay in the municipality of Tiaong, Quezon.

 

Not only does the project give opportunities to the women sector, the VCOs produced were also distributed to various frontliners. Almost two hundred health workers, firefighters, police officers, and members of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office in Tiaong, Quezon received VCOs from the project.

 

As the volume of the produce continuously increases in the present, the project aims to serve more Filipinos through the distribution of VCOs to other nearby areas to expand its reach. With the CABAYAN RIC to train the next chosen beneficiary group engaged in coconut processing fibers and production of VCOs so supply local markets and exporters, the initiative promises great outcome to the other sectoral groups in the localities in CALABARZON.

 

Funded by DA-BAR in July 2020, the VCO project was one of the initiatives under the bureau’s Resiliency Response Research for Development Program, specifically on Upscaling and Diversifying Food Products/Technology in support to the DA-Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 Program. ### (Clarisse Mae N. Abao)



In our goal to continually improve the services we provide, we would like to get your insights on the second part of the online seminar on Organic Soybean Production & Processing by Melinda Calumpit you attended. Your views and comments will really help us make our upcoming online seminars and events even more useful and relevant. Please let us know what you think. You can say as little or as much as you'd like.

For those who wish to obtain a certificate of participation, kindly also provide us your email address, where we will send the certificate, through the online evaluation form.

The Department of Agriculture Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) led by its executive director, Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, launched the “Buck to Bucks” (B2B) Paiwi System on 9 July 2020 in San Jose, Nueva Ecija to help livestock farmers augment their income.

The B2B Paiwi System is one of the efforts of DA-PCC to complement the projects and activities under the agency’s Creating Opportunities through Value Innovations and Development project in line with the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 program of DA.

In partnership with the city government of San Jose, the project will benefit farmer-members of the Tayabo Agro-Entrepreneur Natures Innovators Movement and the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in Barangay Tayabo, San Jose, Nueva Ecija. Lolito Deloberjes, Jr., a progressive farmer, was chosen to initially model the B2B Paiwi System. He was entrusted with one male goat (buck) that will be used for breeding for meat production. Hence, earning bucks in the long run.

Under the said system, existing does from the herd of the partner farmer underwent ultrasonography to determine which were eligible for mating. Qualified does were injected with hormone to induce estrous. After three to five days, the does are expected manifest overt signs of estrus or ‘in heat’ and they will be bred naturally by the buck. Pregnancy diagnosis will be done after 30 days by ultrasonographic examination of the does. Once they are declared pregnant, the buck will be transferred to another adopted goat herd community identified by Edgardo G. Villamante, focal person San Jose city government.

The said buck is one of the kids born out of another DA-PCC project, “Utilization of Epididymal Sperm of Slaughtered Livestock for Basic Research Using Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs),” led by Dr. Lerma Cajuigan-Ocampo of DA-PCC and funded by the DA Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

The BAR-funded project found that post mortem epididymal sperm (ES) remain physiologically functional as demonstrated by their ability to fertilize matured oocytes through in vitro fertilization technique (IVF). ES was preserved on -196 degrees Celsius for future utilization. Dr. Ocampo emphasized the importance of preserving animal genetic resources in the country for sustainable livestock production.

Following its success, another BAR-funded project was conducted to determine if the frozen (ES) sperm could still fertilize matured oocytes through in vivo fertilization; simply put, its ability to impregnate a doe.

The follow-up project proved that utilization of the frozen ES by Fixed Time Artificial Insemination technology in Boer goats at DA-PCC genepool produced kids on the ground called “Epid” bucks. These bucks were lent to the livestock farmers under the B2B Paiwi System.

Although nondescript goats may be smaller than their imported/foreign breed counterpart, village farmers still keep a handful in their locality due to their innate capability to graze with locally available fodder/grasses and their ability to multiply faster. The B2B Paiwi System will

surely help the farmers produce more goats that are better version of their female parent, thus augmenting their income faster. ### (Rena S. Hermoso)

The B2B Paiwi System is one of the efforts of DA-PCC to complement the projects and activities under the agency’s Creating Opportunities through Value Innovations and Development project in line with the Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 program of DA.

In our goal to continually improve the services we provide, we would like to get your insights on the second part of the online seminar on Cacao Product Development & Marketing with Josephine Ramos and Dennis Bihis you attended. Your views and comments will really help us make our upcoming online seminars and events even more useful and relevant. Please let us know what you think. You can say as little or as much as you'd like.

For those who wish to obtain a certificate of participation, kindly also provide us your email address, where we will send the certificate, through the online evaluation form.