PH’s first-ever “smart farm” looms

Panay News - - OPINION -

THE first- ever “smart farm” in the coun­try looms af­ter the De­part­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy- Philip­pine Coun­cil for In­dus­try, En­ergy, and Emerg­ing Tech­nol­ogy Re­search and De­vel­op­ment (DOST-PCIEERD) put up its stakes to fund its de­vel­op­ment.

The “smart farm” is a fa­cil­ity for the Smart Plant Pro­duc­tion in Con­trolled En­vi­ron­ments (SPICE), a P128 mil­lion pro­gram that is ex­pected to pro­mote ur­ban farm­ing and high-tech plant con­ser­va­tion.

It will be housed at the DOST- Ad­vanced Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy In­sti­tute’s Nurs­ery of Indige­nous and En­demic Plants in Que­zon City.

Team­ing up to de­velop the SPICE in­clude Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines Dil­i­man-In­sti­tute of Bi­ol­ogy and Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tron­ics En­gi­neer­ing In­sti­tute, and UP Los Baños In­sti­tute of Bi­ol­ogy.

It aims to lead the re­search and de­vel­op­ment for the de­sign of a stand- alone ur­ban farm sys­tem and es­tab­lish pro­to­cols for mi­cro­prop­a­ga­tion, cry­op­reser­va­tion, and nurs­ery man­age­ment of rare, en­dan­gered, and eco­nom­i­cally valu­able na­tive plant species.

DOST of­fi­cials say the core of this project is not only the de­vel­op­ment of new tech­nol­ogy, but also, on a macro per­spec­tive, to en­sure that we can pro­tect our coun­try’s rich bio­di­ver­sity.

Mod­ern farm­ing meth­ods like ver­ti­cal farm­ing, mi­cro­prop­a­ga­tion, cry­op­reser­va­tion, and hy­dro­pon­ics will be prac­ticed to grow na­tive plants in an en­vi­ron­ment where cli­mate, light­ing, and ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem can be mon­i­tored, con­trolled, and changed real-time through the use of elec­tron­ics, sen­sors, and au­to­ma­tion.

Aside from the tech­ni­cal fea­tures of the project, the fa­cil­ity is en­vi­sioned to in­clude a “liv­ing lab­o­ra­tory” where vis­i­tors can see for them­selves the var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies em­ployed, and an out­let where they can buy fresh veg­eta­bles that were grown on-site.

An­other de­vel­op­ment shows that most tech­nolo­gies de­vel­oped by the DOST use lo­cal raw ma­te­ri­als that went through in­no­va­tions in terms of prod­uct or process im­prove­ments, mak­ing them dis­tinct from their com­mer­cial coun­ter­parts.

Among the ad­van­tages of lo­cal tech­nolo­gies is their low cost com­pared with the com­mer­cial ones which are of­ten im­ported.

The tech­nolo­gies are made of lo­cally-sourced raw ma­te­ri­als which are read­ily avail­able in the coun­try.

Fol­low­ing this de­vel­op­ment, the DOST’s Industrial Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute (ITDI) also de­vel­oped tech­nolo­gies that are re­spon­sive to cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion.

The In­sti­tute has been the De­part­ment’s lead agency in de­vel­op­ing tech­nolo­gies use­ful for both en­ter­prises and at the en­vi­ron­ment.

In the re­cent DOST-ITDI se­ries of tech­nol­ogy of­fer­ing fo­rums, al­most a hundred in­dus­tries ex­pressed in­ter­est to adopt and col­lab­o­rate.

Among the tech­nolo­gies pre­sented in the fo­rum se­ries in­clude food tech­nolo­gies, food pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies, health and well­ness, green en­gi­neer­ing, and ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy which are avail­able for trans­fer or li­cens­ing to in­ter­ested en­trepreneurs.

Dur­ing the last five years, the DOST-ITDI com­pleted 152 re­search and de­vel­op­ment projects in the field of chem­i­cal and en­ergy, en­vi­ron­men­tal and biotech­nol­ogy, food, ma­te­rial sci­ence, and pack­ag­ing.

Aside from de­vel­op­ing ready-to-trans­fer tech­nolo­gies, DOST-ITDI has been pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to the Filipino in­dus­tries for many years now, from prod­uct pack­ag­ing to prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, such as pack­ag­ing R&D, process im­prove­ment, cleaner pro­duc­tion, plant lay­out, test and anal­y­sis, waste treat­ment, and many other tech­ni­cal ser­vices which have re­sulted in in­creased pro­duc­tion vol­ume and pro­duc­tiv­ity. (jaypeeyap@ymail.com/PN)

Among the ad­van­tages of lo­cal tech­nolo­gies is their low cost com­pared with the com­mer­cial ones which are of­ten im­ported. The tech­nolo­gies are made of lo­callysourced raw ma­te­ri­als which are read­ily avail­able in the coun­try.

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