SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ (PIA) — Central Luzon State University (CLSU) will implement starting September a P15.4 million grant from Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for the engaging Food and Agriculture Resources Management (eFARM) Academy Program.
To run for two years, it seeks to bring technologies and innovations to a larger and diverse audience such as students, life-long tourist learners, farmers, local government units, and Philippine and foreign higher education institutions.
“CLSU will develop educational modules using different modalities and media to promote matured generated technologies that are ready for transfer and commercialization,” CHED Office of the Deputy Executive Director Officer-In-Charge and International Affairs Director Lily Freida Milla said.
“The university was encouraged to realize this program as its formidable implementation of agri-aqua research and development activities may open doors for more international collaborations,” the official furthered.
In a statement, CLSU President Edgar Orden said eFARM Academy envisions being an engaging platform that will support the positioning of the university as a premier international techno education tourism hub for agri-fishery.
“The program will be capacitating the stakeholders on agri-fishery technologies, food security, and food business through actual and virtual learning modes,” he emphasized.
Program lead Gella Patria Abella explained that eFARM Academy has three components namely eFARM GROW (Generate. Reap. Opportunity. Wealth); eFARM KITCHEN (Knowledge, Innovations, Technology, Culinary Know-How and Product Enhancement); and eFARM Academy (Online Learning).
With these components, the developed food and agriculture technologies will be showcased, and the products will be made available for consumption.
“They will be shared through on-site visits, transformative digital platforms including virtual classrooms, and live streaming via Radyo CLSU to reach the target beneficiaries. The commodities included for product development and culinary arts hope to highlight the Philippine culture,” Abella added.
The program team is composed of faculty members with diverse specializations to operationalize the program in a very holistic manner. (CLJD-PIA 3)
To intensify the clamor of preparing every household on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), University Gender and Development Office (UGADO) funded a research-project and community outreach program dubbed as “Institutionalization of Dapat LIGTAS (Ligtas, Ingat at Gayak ang may Talino sa Amba ng Sakuna): A DRRM – GAD Campaign at Barangay Catalanacan, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija”. Dr. Gella Patria L. Abella, one of the project staff, attended the regular session of Sangguniang Panlunsod of the Science City of Muñoz to discuss the rationale and objectives of the project which is to make Brgy. Catalanacan as the champion barangay in terms of disaster preparedness and management. The project will also update the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan of the barangay.
The project started to disseminate information through seminars about different hazards (Typhoon, Flooding, Earthquake and COVID-19) also the seminar includes Basic Life Support Seminar with collaboration of the Disaster Risk Reduction Office of Science City of Muñoz headed by Engr. Josefino F. Correa.
The Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM), College of Science, Central Luzon State University together with the Municipality of Talavera conducted the Training-Workshop on Formulation of Enhanced Local Climate Change Action Plan for the Local Government Units. The training-workshop is aimed for awareness and education on climate change impacts, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, disaster risk reduction management, a utilization of GIS Technology and Remote Sensing Applications in the production of hazard maps and preparation of Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP) and it is being carried out jointly by the faculty and staff of ICCEM. The assistance by ICCEM for the formulation and updating of LCCAP were offered for the year 2020.
LUPAO, Nueva Ecija — Weather monitoring and forecasting through technology is helping farmers in Nueva Ecija manage their crops and increase productivity as the country deals with the impacts of climate change.
Knowing the chance of rain and the expected amount of rainfall just by checking a weather forecast dashboard on his phone makes it easier for Isagani Cajucom, a farmer in Lupao town, to manage the corn that he plants.
The tool, which is one of the components of Project SARAI (Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines), helps farmers like Cajucom decide when to plant, irrigate, apply fertilizer and harvest.
Cajucom grows corn—which then become silage, or fermented and stored fodder fed to ruminants such as dairy carabaos—on a 16-hectare plot in the upland part of Barangay Parista. He supplies the Philippine Carabao Center in Muñoz with corn silage.
He said knowing the chance of rain, especially during summer, helps farmers minimize water usage and save money they would have spent on irrigation needs.
“Maganda pagdating ng summer. Imbes na gumastos ka, kung meron na ‘yung advisory, maiiwasan mo ‘yung labor…at ‘yung expenses nababawasan,” Cajucom said.
(It’s good to use during summer. Instead of spending money for irrigation, the expenses are reduced because of the advisory.)
Aside from weather monitoring, Cajucom said SARAI has “many advantages” as the program also has fertilizer application and pest management components.
The weather forecast monitoring is one of the components of Project SARAI, a program funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARD).
Project SARAI aims to reduce climate risks by providing farmers with site-specific crop advisories, which are targeted for rice, corn, banana, coconut, coffee, cacao, sugarcane, soybean and tomato.
Its portal provides real-time weather data, short-term weather forecasts and six-month rainfall outlook, which could be utilized by farmers in making informed decisions. Farmers can also access information on the characteristics of crops, their yield potential as well as management practices and how to deal with pests and diseases.
The Central Luzon State University, one of the country’s premier agricultural institutions, field tested the Adaptive Planting Calendar—which provides recommended planting dates or planting windows based on the cumulative rainfall for specified threshold and duration of certain crop—in Lupao and the Science City of Muñoz. Nutrient Management for Corn was also studied in Lupao.
Dr. Gella Patria Abella, study leader of Project SARAI in CLSU, said other farmers in the province who tested the technologies also expressed satisfaction with the outcomes, especially with the increase in yield and income. These results, however, are still up for validation.
Nueva Ecija, a landlocked province in the Central Luzon region, is the country’s largest producer of rice.
But the climate crisis is changing production systems and compromising food security for millions of people in an agricultural country like the Philippines. Hence, farmers who labor in fields to produce food bear the greatest brunt of a warming world.
“Our farmers are given options to use smarter approaches that are science-based. Due to the changing climate, their indigenous knowledge on agriculture can be integrated with smart technologies we are introducing, such that we can adapt to it,” Abella, also an associate professor in CLSU, said.
“This way we are steps ahead of climate change impacts,” she added.
Institutionalization of SARAI
The pandemic did not only affect the livelihood of Cajucom after large farms that he used to sell his harvest to closed down. The health crisis has also had an impact on the implementation of SARAI Project.
“Dati every week, nagpapalipad ng drone, tinitignan ang area tapos sinasubmit sa [UP Los Baños] ‘yung data, picture. Nung nag-pandemic, syempre limitado na… Bumibisita kaya lang hindi na ganoon kadalas,” he said.
(They used to fly drones every week to assess the area, then they will submit the data, photos to UPLB. Of course, the visits became limited during the pandemic. They still visit but not as frequently as before).
But Cajucom said he is willing to continue using SARAI technologies even after the end of the project’s implementation.
Abella said a proposal seeking to establish a regional center for integrated crop monitoring has been submitted to DOST-PCAARD.
“This will hopefully institutionalize SARAI by establishing a physical office, capacitating regional partners of UPLB with technical knowledge skills,” she said, referring to Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing, crop simulation and modelling, and remote agricultural monitoring.
The proposed center also aims to focus on the important crops of Central Luzon—rice, corn, onion, tomato and mango. If approved, the proposal’s implementation will be in January 2022.
CHED-HEDF funded Project, Enhancement of the System for Agriculture and Fisheries Education through the Integration of Green and Remote Sensing Technologies Towards Food Security, Sustainability, Health and Safety of the Environment (CHED SAFE>GRS>FOSHE) underwent an online annual monitoring and evaluation last August 11, 2021.
CHED SAFE>GRS>FOSHE is an ongoing two-year research program under the Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management, Central Luzon State University (ICCEM, CLSU) which aims to improve and transform the agriculture and fisheries education through extension by means of dissemination of green and remote sensing technologies to selected students, farmers, LGUs and local communities in Central Luzon using various promotional techniques and strategies.
The evaluation team, led by the Ms. Mayumi Belandres and Mr. Maynard Balao of the Research Management Division, Office of Planning, Research and Knowledge Management (OPKRM), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Ms. Myra Paz Manalo of Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF), and Mr. Nathaniel Alibuyog of Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), evaluated the program’s five projects under the leadership of Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto and Dr. Gella Patria Abella.
The outputs and accomplishments were presented by the research team as a part of the annual evaluation and monitoring.
The Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM, CLSU) in partnership with President Ramon Magsaysay State University (PRMSU) has completed a 2-Year (2018- 2020) P15M-research grant for the program titled, “Coastal Resource Management integrating Coastal Resource Assessment and Valuation, Carrying Capacity, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Province of Zambales: A Systems Approach (CRMinC3DZ)” funded by the Commission on Higher Education Discovery-Applied Research and Extension for Trans/ Inter-disciplinary Opportunities (CHED DARE-TO) K-12 Transition Program. The program was led by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto. Moreover, the program was composed of five projects also led by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto (Projects 1 and 5), Engr. Eliza Camaso (Project 2), Ms. Roann Alberto-Lao (Project 3), and Dr. Gella Patria Abella (Project 4).
This program aimed to develop a decision support-system for the provincial government of Zambales as a basis for coastal resource management. The significant contributions of the program mainly were the establishment of physical, social and economic profiles of the province, assessment of the resources of mangrove, coral reef and seagrass ecosystems, evaluation of carrying capacity of the province in terms of tourists, provided economic valuation of use and non-use values of various ecosystems, disaster risk including hazard and vulnerability assessments, assessment of the existing and proposed climate change adaptation strategies for coastal communities, introduction and development of livelihood opportunities which were climate smart technologies from indigenous and local materials, and also the identification of an optimal land and water use allocation, considering several development goals set by the stakeholders. Lastly, the program promoted and disseminated research results, coastal resource management, biodiversity conservation, green technology, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction management thru disaster communication, IEC and capability building of coastal communities.
The partners and beneficiaries of the program included the four (4) local government units (LGUs) of Palauig, Masinloc, Candelaria and Sta. Cruz, Zambales, 42 coastal barangays, DENR, PAMB, BFAR, fisherfolks, youth organizations, women organizations, senior citizens, indigenous people, farmers and other local communities.
The project “Improvement of The Biotechnology Laboratory at the Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM), Central Luzon State University” funded by DOST-PCAARRD, recently acquired 9 new equipment for the Biotechnology Laboratory upgrading the capability to detect phytochemical components of plants and maintain an aseptic environment in the laboratory. This project is under the leadership of Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto, Head of ICCEM.
The acquired set of equipment includes a multi-preparative HPLC with UV-Vis detector, heating and cooling incubator, vertical flow hood, vacuum oven, plant growth chamber, orbital shaker, analytical balance, UV-germicidal lamps and air filtration system. Most of the equipment were delivered on the third quarter of 2020 despite the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the remaining items were delivered before the end of February 2021, in time for the project terminal.
Product feature introductions and standard operating procedures were provided by the different suppliers thru online meetings and webinars attended by the ICCEM researchers. Further local and international training in the use of machinery and equipment will be set after travel restrictions and health risks are lifted.
Promptly addressing the need to capacitate household members, specifically mothers on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM), the University Gender and Development Office (UGADO) funded a research-project and community outreach program dubbed as “Dapat LIGTAS (Ligtas, Ingat, at Gayak ang may Talino sa Banta ng Sakuna)” which is a DRRM information dissemination drive thru mothers in selected barangays of the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
Mothers in four barangays: Bagong Sikat, Catalanacan, Franza, and Matingkis in Science City of Muñoz, identified as highly susceptible to flooding, are the main beneficiaries of the project.
The project recognizes the role of mothers in making every household prepared for whatever disaster that might happen in the community, specifically incorporating the much needed information and preventive measures on COVID 19.
“Each household should always be prepared to any hazard that may happen. The role of the mother is vital in this because she is the one who takes care of the safety and health of family members. Hence, her knowledge and preparedness should be adept”, Dr. Gella Patria L. Abella, project leader, explained.
The project developed two sets of informative materials consist of video presentations, which contain animated scenes with voice-over regarding the nature and possible effects of disasters including typhoon, flood, earthquake, and COVID-19. The second set contains information about the aforesaid four disasters, distributed in printed materials to every household of four barangays.
Seminar-type sessions were also provided to some of the mothers from four barangays to facilitate discussion on the different hazards. Queries and clarifications such as debunking some myths on hazards were also answered in the sessions.
The project was spearheaded by Dr. Gella Patria L. Abella with Assoc. Prof. Roberto D. Pelayo, Dr. Mercedita M. Reyes, Assoc. Prof. Evelyn M. Ben, and Mr. Mark Christian V. De Jesus as study leaders.
The group is already working for the commencement of Phase II of the project which will be on institutionalizing the Dapat LIGTAS project. This is a collaboration of the Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM), Department of English and Humanities (DEH), CASS and University Science High School (USHS) of the Central Luzon State University.
The project Coastal Resource Management integrating Coastal Resource Assessment and Valuation, Carrying Capacity, Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Province of Zambales: A Systems Approach (CRMinC3DZ) recently underwent visitation and evaluation by The Commission on Higher Education Discovery-Applied Research and Extension for Trans/ Inter-disciplinary Opportunities (CHED DARE-TO) monitoring team at the Training Room, Biodiversity Center, Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM, CLSU) on March 3, 2020. The projects were presented by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto, Engr. Eliza Camaso, Ms. Roann Alberto-Lao, and Dr. Gella Patria Abella. The monitoring team encouraged the research team to ensure sustainability of CRMinC3DZ.
The CRMinC3DZ Project 5: IEC Production, Promotion and Technology Transfer is extended until December 2020 due to the cancellation of supposed trainings in Zambales.
Meanwhile, the P10M-DOST-PCAARRD granted research on Spatial Distribution Analysis of Leaf miner (Lyriomyzae trifolii Burgess) in Onion Growing Areas of Nueva Ecija using Geographic Information System (GIS), led by Dr. Ronaldo Alberto will end this September 2020. Its goal is to determine the spatial relationship and distribution pattern of leaf miner as well as the influence of temperature on its outbreak. Working with same funding agency, another study under the leadership of Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto is geared on the Development of Botanical Pesticides from Indigenous Plants in Selected Forest Ecosystems in Central Luzon. This P5M-funded project hopes to produce native plant-derived botanical pesticide that is more environment-friendly. The project will run until January 2022.
CLSU Academic Research Council also provided fund for the study on Spectral Reflectance of Trees at Central Luzon State University. One of its objectives is to utilize the spectral reflectance curve of the trees that can be used in characterization of trees in the creation of spectral library. The research team is headed by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto.
The ICCEM, being a research-oriented unit of CLSU, has two newly granted researches. A P10M-project by CHED, Enhancement of the System for Agriculture and Fisheries Education through the Integration of Green and Remote Sensing Technologies Towards Food Security, Sustainability, Health and Safety of the Environment (SAFE>GRS>FOSHE), is being conducted by the team led by Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto, also the Director of ICCEM. Roster of Project Leaders include Dr. Ronaldo Alberto, Prof. Roann Lao,
Engr. Eliza Camaso, Mr. Edmark Bulaong. This is in partnership with President Ramon Magsaysay State University (PRMSU) and Tarlac Agricultural University (TAU), as represented by Ms. Jo Adrianne Espiritu and Engr. Guiller Damian, project leaders. This project aims to innovate the deployment of agricultural and fisheries technologies to various stakeholders.
Another timely research on disasters and COVID-19, Dapat LIGTAS (Ligtas, Ingat at Gayak ang may Talino sa Amba ng Sakuna), is being pursued by the team headed by Dr. Gella Patria Abella. This is a collaborative effort from the different units of CLUS, namely Prof. Roberto Pelayo of ICCEM, Dr. Mercedita Reyes of College of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof. Evelyn Ben and Mr. Mark Christian de Jesus of University Science High School. It is under the internal funding of CLSU Gender and Development.
Despite the threats and challenges of COVID-19 pandemic, the research projects of CLSU-ICCEM are being pursued. Results of these studies would be the basis of informed decision of policy makers which is the impetus of the research unit.
The Institute for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ICCEM) distributed packs of putong puti and freshly-baked cookies to the various departments consisting the frontliners of Central Luzon State University (CLSU), July 6, 2020.
The University’s Administrative Personnel, Infirmary Workforce, and University Security Force received their snacks distributed weekly by the Institute, as the latter’s form of support.
Upon receiving their pack of puto, Ms. Loida Gurion of Records Section said, “Are these really for us?” to which the representatives said yes.
One of the Infirmary staff was also delighted to receive the food packs and even joked about requesting for beverages that would solve their afternoon cravings.
Despite the hot and tiring day, the USF still insisted for a group photo. Even with their face masks on, their smiles were evident in their eyes. Mr. Rogelio Duldulao also requested for the photos to be tagged to them in ICCEM’s Facebook Page
This food-distributing activity of the Institute is just one of the many ways of supporting and recognizing the University’s frontliners. According to Dr. Annie Melinda Paz-Alberto, ICCEM’s Director, the small amount of help that ICCEM offers is incomparable to the effort that the workforce exerts to continue upholding the university’s Quality Policy Statement “Excellent service to humanity is our commitment” despite the pandemic that the world is experiencing right now.
With high hopes that the situation will eventually get better, ICCEM continues on helping to fight COVID-19 and will always have a helping hand whenever the University needs them, the Director said.