"To enhance and institutionalize the e-Extension system in agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources for optimal application, utilization and exchange among users and partners."
Agri and Fisheries News
www.philstar.com: March 27, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has tapped the expertise of scientists from UP Mindanao to develop coconut water into powder.
DOST Region 11 director Anthony Sales said using a spray dryer developed by the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), a team of food scientists from UP Mindanao has completed the process of converting coconut water into powder.
“We are still doing further research to determine the nutrient retention capacity,” Sales told The Star in a recent interview.
Sales said thousands of coconut farmers and coconut product manufacturers would benefit from this initiative, which would help coconut water become more mainstream.
Coconut powder has a much lower price when compared with the ready-to-drink version.
Wrapped in convenient individual sachets, the coconut powder is considered among the country’s leading agricultural exports.
“We are very happy that our investments in various R&D efforts have resulted in many significant breakthroughs and that our Filipino scientists, engineers and researchers are showing they can deliver if only you will invest and gamble on them,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo told The STAR.
It would be recalled that the DOST chief in 2013 sent 17 regional directors to Thailand to study the coconut water market, which has grown by leaps and bounds with the continuous development of by-products.
Upon their return to the Philippines, the DOST regional directors reported that Thailand utilized high-tech food processing machines such as spray dryers, vacuum dryers, freeze dryers, and vacuum sealers to turn coconut water into powder.
Subsequently, the MIRDS and ITDI successfully designed and fabricated their own equipment which allowed the construction of food innovation centers in Davao City, Tuguegarao City and Tacloban City.
Based on the Philippine Coconut Authority’s 2011 statistics, nearly a third of the country’s farmland is dedicated to coconut farming.
Sales said the powdered coconut juice is a healthy alternative to instant fruit juices in the market because it is really from the natural coconut fruit with no artificial flavour and preservatives added.
Coconut powder can also be used in baking biscuits, snack bars, cakes, pastries as well as in making jams and jellies and flavoring for ice cream.
www.philstar.com: March 20, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – A team of scientists and researchers from the Western Philippines University (WPU) in Palawan province received a P4.3 million financial assistance from the United States Agency for International Aid to help increase the supply of abalone.
Lota Alcantara-Creencia, who heads the research and development team, said increasing abalone production in coastal communities would provide fishermen with a source of additional income.
As a supplemental source of livelihood, abalone, which can be found in many coastal areas, is a high value commodity.
“We are really looking forward to further increasing the production of abalone. So far, our research is running smoothly. We are getting good data,” Creencia told The STAR.
Abalone, an edible sea snail or marine gastropod mollusc, commands extraordinarily high prices in Chinese restaurants. Its unique flesh and taste has made it a hot commodity, particularly in Asia.
Creencia said fishermen who catch abalone in Puerto Princesa in Palawan noted a decrease in quantity of abalone in their marine areas.
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According to Creencia, fisherfolks have set up a hatchery near WPU for their research program.
This early, Creencia said the team has recognized the need to farm the algae and seaweed, the natural food of abalones, to help them grow and thrive.
The WPU R&D on abalone was one of 21 projects pursued by faculty professors and their students that were showcased by the USAID in a “national innovation roadshow” exhibit.
This forms part of the five-year Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) program that aims to strengthen applied research activity in Philippine universities and industries.
STRIDE is a USAID/Philippines project under the Partnership for Growth (PFG), a White House initiative. The PFG represents a partnership between the Philippines and the US to promote broad-based and inclusive growth.
STRIDE focuses on disciplines that contribute to high-growth sectors such as electronics, chemical industries, alternative energy translational medicine, agri-business, ICT and mobile computing, with cross-cutting themes of manufacturing and new product development.
“This is actually our largest education project and one of the largest projects of USAID in the world,” USAID Philippines mission director Susan Brems said in a forum held recently.
As of the end of February this year, the program has already awarded a total of P144.8 million in research grants to 34 universities across the country.
Apart from financial grants for R&D activities, the program has also awarded 31 scholarships to Filipinos to study in US universities.
Other opportunities offered by STRIDE include advanced training in research, curriculum development for Professional Science Master’s degree, faculty externships, and innovation workshops.
Brems said the human capital development program focuses on the need to improve higher education in the Philippines to bring the country at par with top universities around the world.