Bicol farmers, fisherfolks learn technologies from Fulbright scientists | BICOL TODAY

Bicol farmers, fisherfolks learn technologies from Fulbright scientists

By Jerry James M. de la Torre, contributor

RAGAY, Camarines Sur – To enhance agri-fishery productivity, some 70 Fulbright scientists have interacted with about 150 Bicolano farmers and fisherfolks in various technology sessions this week in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon and Ragay, Camarines Sur.

These technology fora cover several topics such as bioethanol production from nipa, abaca production and processing, floriculture and environmental horticulture, mushroom pharming and processing, microbials in crop productivity, pesticide control and alternatives, organic farming (biofertillizer, vermicomposting and cocopeat utilization), chicken, goat and buffalo production strategies, organic aquaculture and practical backyard fish and shrimp farming as well as coco sugar production strategies.

These Fulbrighters are returning scholars from the United States after finishing various graduate degree and research fellowship programs in agriculture, plant pathology, livestock, fishery, agricultural engineering, soil science, economics and agricultural extension.

They are now formally organized as Fulbright Philippine Agriculture Alumni Association (FPAAA) and is now operating as a non-profit professional national organization duly registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This technology festival is actually a major part of FPAAA’s annual research conference where technology exhibits and capability building sessions for professional and student researchers are simultaneously carried out.

This year, the first leg happened in Sorsogon State College (SSC), Sorsogon City, Sorsogon on June 25 to 27 while the second leg was conducted in Ragay National Agricultural and Fishery School (RNAFS), Ragay, Camarines Sur on June 27 to 28.

The capability-building sessions for researchers include workshops on project proposal for funding application, study proposal for scholarship application, writing scientific papers for publication and technical writing.

The plenary sessions featured lectures on funding of research projects, scholarship opportunities and the scientific career system.

Another highlight of this research conference and technology festival is FPAAA’s tribute to two great pillars of the Fulbright Agriculture Program: Agriculture Secretary Salvador H. Escudero III and Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

“This year, Fulbright marks the 70th anniversary and so we, at the Fulbright Agriculture group, are contributing to this reckoning by celebrating the legacies of our inspiring and visionary leaders,” said Dr. Danilda Hufana-Duran, FPAAA president.

Aside from the technology sessions, Fulbright will also honor Sec Salvador H. Escudero III for his inspiring and visionary leadership at the Department of Agriculture.

The PHilMech grain moisture meter, SHEGA III, was actually named after him:

SHE III : Salvador H. Escudero III

GA : Gintong Ani

On the side, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech), will also honor the late Secretary Escudero by presenting SHEGA III, a functional grain moisture meter, to the Escudero family and the people of Sorsogon.

The design, development and commercial utilization of SHEGA III was among the crowning achievements of Secretary Escudero at the Department of Agriculture (DA). Through this moisture meter, farmers and traders alike were empowered on equitable footing, thus making rice and corn production, processing and marketing mutually profitable.

It will be noted that the selling price of palay and corn are largely dependent on the degree of wetness or dryness of the product. SHEGA III is the first Filipino-made grain moisture meter and it has become a benchmark of other variants of moisture meter for grains and other crops.

Senator Angara, in his various capacities as legislator and acting secretary of DA, was the prime architect of the Fulbright Agriculture Scholarship Program (FPASP), the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA) as well as the Agriculture and Fishery Mechanization (AFMech) Law.

The opening ceremony featured the keynote address of Senator Sonny Angara who vowed to continue the visionary agri-fishery development programs of his father who passed away recently. Sen. Sonny, for his part, has co-authored the Farm Tourism Act.

This year’s conference is implemented with generous support from several institutions and individuals such as President Modesto Detera of SSC, Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Ante Lee, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Congresswoman Evelina G. Escudero (First District, Sorsogon), Philippine American Educational Foundation (PAEF), US Embassy, Sorsogon Governor Robert Lee-Rodrigueza, PHilMech and the Philippine Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (PSABE).

PSABE has facilitated the accreditation of this conference for continuing professional development (CPD) credits. []

*Jerry James M. de la Torre is a Bicolano agricultural engineer (1998 5th Placer, CSSAC 1997) and Fulbrighter (MSFood Engineering, Ohio State University, 2009.

Posted by on July 5, 2018. Filed under Bicol News,Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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