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.

Mushroom-growing and production are not new in the Philippines. It has been known since the 1990s. However, due to limited resources available, its status and production were sparse enough for people to lose interest in it.

With its immense potentials and benefits, the only thing that discourages people to venture in this field is the lack of knowledge, access to trainings, and quality planting materials.

This sparked the initiative of the Department of Agriculture- Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-CLIARC) to pursue a study on mushroom propagation technology that involved three components to improve income, especially of rice farmers: research and development; production and gene bank establishment; and training and extension services.

Funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), these three components have respective sub-studies conducted to complete and ensure the project’s overall goal which is to generate and introduce low-cost mushroom production and postharvest technologies to farmers.

Research and Development 

Under this component, three sub-studies were successfully actualized by DA-CLIARC that aimed to generate a product line of mushroom- based products for additional income of farmers. These products have high nutritional content because mushrooms alone are already rich in vitamins and minerals. These are good alternatives especially for those who are monitoring their fat and sugar intake.

One of the studies is on “Product Development and Shelf-life Extension of Pleurotus-based Mushroom Frozen Products” which produced 10 frozen varieties of products for commercialization. This product line included ice cream, ice drop, kikiam, bola-bola, nuggets, veggie-balls, longganisa, tapa, dumpling, and lumpiang shanghai. Fresh mushroom fruits were harvested and added to these goods and then processed with the respective ingredients needed for each recipe.

 

Moreover, another study focused on producing consumable treats with oyster mushrooms as main ingredient. This study, however, centers more on sweets and pastries. The study titled “Product Development of Pleurotus Mushroom-Based Sweets and Pastries for Commercialization” generated 10 goods for this product line including waffle, cupcake, espasol, macaroons, pie tart, pandesal, brownies, sugar- coated mushroom, glazed mushroom, and maja.

Aside from these, nine mushroom-based condiments were also developed under this component. Through the study “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.

The researchers conducted a sensory evaluation for each of the products and have gained positive feedback from the public in terms of taste, color, texture, and flavor.

Meanwhile, on shelf-life testing, these projects have also successfully prolonged the shelf-life of mushroom and have lessened its perishability. With rancidity as its main determiner, the product lines can last for months when kept and stored properly..

 

Gene bank establishment and training services  

The remaining two components of the project focused on increasing the awareness of growers on mushroom varieties and production. The gene bank aimed to serve as a source of starter cultures for individuals and institutions who have expressed their interest in mushroom growing, while the provision of training services intended to expand the know-hows and skills of the growers.

With that, the extension and training component, that originally intended to cater 1,000 individuals, has expanded its training to 1,042 participants through a total of 31 training services provided.

When it comes to the gene bank establishment, researchers surpassed the target number to be produced and have reached 3,055 quality culture and 38,000 mushroom fruiting bags. Also, 18 edible mushroom varieties were cultured for continuous storage and maintenance.

At present, in response to DA’s Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 program, mushroom fruiting bags have been distributed by DA-CLIARC Upland in Magalang, Pampanga for free. In addition, vegetable seeds and seedlings as well as grain spawns were also given to the members of Mushroom and High-Value Crops Producers Association in Tarlac. The institution is also preparing for the launching of their online seminar on mushroom production.

Following the same initiative, another mushroom project also funded by DA-BAR titled “Establishment of Mushroom Development Center at DA-RCPC, City of Ilagan, Isabela,” has also produced spawns which were recently allocated to community members who attended an on-site training on mushroom production in Cauayan City, Isabela.

As the country gears towards the New Normal post-pandemic, mushroom production and its by- products truly are seen as one of the most feasible sources of income because of its economic opportunities and advantages. ### Chantale T. Francisco

  

For more information:

Dr. Emily A. Soriano

Project Leader

DA-Central Luzon

(0906) 245 0622

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