Department of Agriculture to Hold Free Seminars at Agrilink 2015

The Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agencies will be holding free seminars, investment forums and technical workshops at AgrilinkFoodlinkAqualink 2015, the country’s premier trade exhibit on agriculture, food and aquaculture, from October 15 to 17 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City. The event’s theme this year will highlight regional agribusiness development which enhances focus on complimentary agricultural crops and agribusiness activities, which in turn improves the efficiency of value adding and supply chain, and ultimately the competitiveness of the region and collectively of the country. Agrilink will also focus on corn, underscoring the importance of the crop towards food and feed security, and on Cagayan Valley (Region 2), the country’s top producer of corn.

On October 16, Engr. Ramon Barbosa of Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will discuss its latest projects on processing and production of coir fiber, logs and coconets and promote their use to help coconut farmers access more markets for their products. These coconut geotextiles serve as bio-engineering materials for soil erosion prevention, soil conditioning and hydroseeding. Coco coir products are already being used by the Department of Public Works and Highways as alternative to concrete which has generated PhP6 billion in savings. The National Irrigation Industry also uses coco coir in constructing irrigation systems across the country. MarianitaEroy of PCA willalso discuss how to produce coir-based organic fertilizer for foliage, vegetables, herbs and other consumable crops.

On the same day, Rene Santiago DVM of the Bureau of Animal Industry’s National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center will provide a technical seminar on native chicken production, its social and economic benefits, and how farmers can maximize their return on investment.

Aside from showcasing its latest technologies on corn, rice and coconut water, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization(PhilMech) will demonstrate locally-adapted machineries that can be used by coffee farmer groups. These include coffee pulpers, hullers, moisture meters, roaster machines, grinders, solar multi-crop grains speed trays, grain bags and UV plastics. The integration of these machineries to coffee-growing communities serve as village-level processing centers which in turn can help coffee farmers develop their own agribusinesses through value-adding.

Together with PhilMech’s Dr. Michael Gragasin, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) will showcase its improved village-type corn mill which can produce high quality corn grits for food and cracked corn for feeds with higher milling recovery. It can also simultaneously degerm, mill and sort corn grits. It has an input capacity of 300-350 kilograms per hour and a low operating cost of PhP1.4 per kilogram. As it has a portable compact design, it only requires a small working area and can be transferred from one place to another to cater more corn farmers.

While on October 17, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will conduct a fishery-based industry forum for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the Philippine Trade Training Center. The forum is expected to address recurring challenges and setbacks MSMEs experience in the face of tough market competition, lack of access to market, high cost of accessing raw materials, insufficient financial support, and underdeveloped skills and technology among others. The business forum will also discuss unveil business growth potentials for the Philippines as a major exporter of fishery products to the European market.

On October 16 at Agrilink, BFAR will have a market and business matching of fisherfolk, buyers and suppliers. From October 16-17 BFAR will showcase various seafood and aquatic products in the country, with the majority coming from MSMEs nationwide.

On October 17, the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) through Martin de Leon of Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines will conduct a technical workshop on chicken tractors, a moveable, floorless chicken coop. The portability of the coop allows the chickens to enjoy some free ranging while still providing them an enclosed space for shelter.Chicken tractors and the animals’ natural foraging instinct provide benefits such as getting rid of pests, tilling and weeding the soil and providing organic fertilizer through its manure.AMAS will also demonstrate multi-purpose dryers for various agricultural products. The dryers have been locally manufactured to make them more suited to local conditions, increase their adaptation and make them more affordable for the farmers.

The DA’s Regional Field Office for Region 2 (DA-RFO II) through the Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CVIARC) will discuss business opportunities in breeding open-pollinated varieties of white corn. These serve as high-yielding, climate-resilient, protein-rich and pest and disease-resistant alternatives to hybrid corn. DA-RFO II will also discuss the initiatives of local government units that helped in the growth of Isabela’s corn industry and turned Iligan City the corn capital of the Philippines.

Aside from the free seminars, Agrilink 2015 will also feature local and international agricultural products, live animal and plant display and other special activities that will underscore the most up-to-date and ground-breaking inputs, technologies and alliances that will enhance the profitability, sustainability and productivity of the interdependent industries of agriculture, aquaculture and food.