The Department of Agriculture (DA) has tapped the country’s top state university for joint research and development (R&D) on postharvest and agricultural mechanization technologies.
Rex Bingabing, executive director of DA’s Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), said that the partnership with the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City (UP Diliman), is part of the agency’s thrust to tap state colleges and universities (SUCs) in the development and promotion of farming mechanization and post-harvest technologies.
The scope of the cooperation, Bingabing said, will include conduct of research and development, prototyping and fabrication of developed technologies; sharing of manpower and financial resources on mutually agreed projects; and other related collaborative activities.
Bingabing expressed optimism that the collaboration will be fruitful, and would have an impact to the country, especially the agriculture sector.
He also said that through the joint collaborative efforts of the agency and the university, students of UP-Diliman and PhilMech researchers will also gain knowledge on how what type of technologies can be developed for use in the country’s farming sector.
“The concept of the collaboration is to give the students and other researchers an idea on what technology to develop with immediate application,” said Bingabing, an alumnus and former faculty of UP Diliman.
For his part, UP chancellor Dr. Caesar Saloma emphasized that UP Diliman is mandated to perform not only as a graduate university, but also as a research institution that has public service in mind.
“Let’s bring our discoveries to the tax payers and larger society. What we discovered in the laboratories should be validated its efficiency to the public, our stakeholders,” he added.
The agreement also stipulates the creation of a Joint Technical Working Group “that will explore suitable areas of cooperation, draft working plans, and determine the specific terms of the collaboration.”
As an initial project, the two institutions are planning to mechanize the shelling operation of cashew nut, which is a potential export winner for the country’s agriculture sector.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Philippines ranked sixth in 2010 among the top producers of cashew nut in world, with a production of about 134,000 metric tons. The top five producers of cashew nut in the world, according to the FAO, are Nigeria, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Vietnam and Indonesia.
To recall, PhilMech forged partnerships with 18 SCUs for the dissemination of farm postharvest and mechanization technologies and knowledge down to the grassroots level through enhancing the SCUs extension delivery system.
PhilMech’s partnership with the 18 SCUs will help the agency in the dissemination of various postharvest and mechanization technologies to farmers, since many SUCs have their own extension offices and even do research and development related to agriculture.
The 18 SCUs include the Central Luzon State University, Benguet State University, Nueva Vizcaya State University, Pampanga Agriculture College, Camarines Norte State College, Bicol University, Bataan Peninsula State University, Aklan State University, Central Mindanao University, Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology, University of South-eastern Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay Technological University, Cavite State University, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, Romblon State University, Southern Leyte State University, Aurora State College of Technology and University of Northern Philippines.