By Quimby Mari Genota

The Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research  and Development  (DOST-PCAARRD) forged collaboration with DOST CALABARZON, the Department of Agriculture CALABARZON (DA) and University of the Philippines (UPLB) last November 8, 2017 at Crimson Hotel, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila. The event was hosted and facilitated by DOST CALABARZON.

The Project on “Field Verification Testing on Carrageenan Growth Promoter for Enhanced Growth and Induced Pest and Disease Resistance in Rice” was sealed yesterday through a Memorandum of Agreement with DOST CALABARZON, represented by its Regional Director Alexander R. Madrigal, DOST-PCAARRD represented by Crop Research Division Director Jocelyn E. Eusebio, DA CALABARZON through its Regional Director, Engr. Arnel V. De Mesa, and UPLB represented by Carrageenan Project leader Dr. Gil L. Magsino.

Carrageenan, a natural polymer was processed into powder and went through radiation-induced degradation. This was then used to develop natural bioactive agents.

The project intends to evaluate the efficacy of the Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter through multi-location field trials and as induced pest and disease resistance; and to identify its usefulness on rice growth and yield.

According to Magsino, this is a kick-off for the project, being the first region to have signed for the Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter, which will also be implemented other seven (7) targeted regions including: Region 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, and 11. This will run for 18 months, through the assistance and funding from DA thru DOST-PCAARRD. “The main beneficiaries of the project are the farmers of CALABARZON,’’ he said.

Dr. Madrigal expressed his gratitude to DA. “DOST is not the big player in this sector (agriculture) but only a catalyzer. Tinanggap naming ang responsibility because we know that DA has the capability and strong leadership through Dr. de Mesa,” he expressed.

DOST and DA will lead the implementation of the regional activities including the identification of rice areas and farmer cooperators and the conduct of farmers’ trainings.

Dr. Eusebio expressed her appreciation to DOST CALABARZON, DA CALABARZON and UPLB for the collaboration and hope for a successful implementation. She hopes that the project will be delivered accordingly.

“We are very excited over this project and we are planning a lot for the farmers in CALABARZON (with Dr. Madrigal). We believe that every technology will have impact to our lives. Kung maganda po talaga ang Carrageenan, hindi lang Region IV ang makikinabang. Malaki ang maitutulong nito sa upland and irrigated land sa farmers ng CALABARZON,” Dir. de Mesa during the MOA signing.

Dr. Lydia Manguiat (DOST ARD for Technical Operations), Dr. Angelito T Carpio (Senior SRS, CRD) and Dr. Digna P. Narvacan (ARD for Research and Regulation) were among the witnesses during the MOA signing.

DOST CALABARZON, DOST-PCAARRD, DA CALABARZON and UPLB believe in S&T and through this partnership project, boost in agricultural productivity is expected in a few months now.