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Written and Photos, Taken by Amylyn Rey-Castro

Out of 176 scientific papers submitted for the 30th National Research Symposium (NRS), 31 made it and qualified for the final presentation and deliberation held on November 7, 2018 at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City. Among those finalists were Cynthia DT. Leycano, Aurora F. Consulta, and Avelita M. Rosales of Lipa Agricultural Research and Experiment Station (LARES); and Daisynette D. Manalo of Research Division of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV CALABARZON.

As a result, eight gold, 10 silver, and 13 bronze awards were given during the awarding ceremony held the following day (November 8). Winners were selected from eight competing categories: 1) Applied Research (Technology/Information Generation [TG/IG]/Technology Adaptation/Verification [TA/TV]) – Fisheries, 2) Applied Research (TG/IG/TA/TV) – Agriculture Crop Science/Crop Protection, 3) Applied Research (TG/IG) – Agriculture Animal Science, 4) Applied Research (TG/IG/TA/TV) – Agriculture Engineering and Postharvest, 5) Applied Research (TG/IG/TA/TV) – Agriculture Soils and Water Science, 6) Socio-Economics Research, 7) Basic Research, and 8 ) Development Research – Agriculture.

Leycano et al. (under Development Research – Agriculture category) and Manalo (under Applied Research (TA/TV) – Agriculture Crop Science/Crop Protection category) received the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) Best Research and Development (R&D) Paper Silver and Bronze Awards, respectively.

Leycano et al.’s paper titled, “Development of Five Variants of Cassava Chips” was given a plaque of recognition, PhP75,000 cash, and a research grant worth PhP1M. The study’s objectives were: develop cassava grates into five variants of chips, determine its acceptability and nutritional value, and enhance its promotion and commercialization. The methods of Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center were adapted by adding five flavors to chips such as malunggay, squash, garlic, cheese, and barbeque.

Meanwhile, Manalo’s research about the “Commercialization of Cacao Production Systems and Processing Technologies in Laguna and Quezon Provinces” was also awarded with a plaque of recognition, cash prize of PhP50,000, and PhP500 thousand worth of research grant. It aimed to commercialize cacao production systems, and postharvest and processing technologies to increase the production and income of four farmers’ organizations from the municipalities of Alabat, Polillo, and Tagkawayan in Quezon, and in the municipality of Luisiana in Laguna. Commercialization of production systems started from the establishment of nursery, then the production of quality planting materials, up to actual field planting – using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) as a quality and productivity tool; while postharvest technologies including fermentation and drying, and processing (from roasting to actual making of tablea and packaging) were within the concept of Good Hygienic Practices (GHP).

DA Undersecretary for Operations Ariel T. Cayanan graced the awarding ceremony and commended this year’s participants and winners for their dedicated and committed efforts which have resulted to new technologies, information, processes, or systems that are helpful to the agriculture and fisheries sector. Likewise, he reminded everyone of the importance of sustainable agriculture by emphasizing that, “We must continuously promote farming practices and methods that are profitable, environmentally sound, and good for communities for us to be able to meet society’s needs in the present without compromising the future generations’ needs.” To this end, USec. Cayanan asked everybody to motivate more researchers, especially the younger ones, to also participate in conducting worthwhile studies as R&D plays a huge role in agricultural development.

The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) holds the NRS annually to identify the best papers on agriculture and fisheries in the Philippines completed in the past five years or from 2013 to 2018, and based on research conducted by scientists and researchers from the DA units and attached agencies, state universities and colleges (SUCs), and other institutions under the DA’s National Research and Development System for Agriculture and Fisheries (NaRDSAF).

Arnel de Mesa Elmer T. Ferry Avelita Rosales Daisynette Manalo Cynthia Leycano Digna Narvacan Stiarc Darfoiva