DOST’s SETUP hoists agri and machinery firms in Cordilleras
THE DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology’s (DOST) pursuit of “Agham na Ramdam” for every ‘Juan’ has reached the far-flung areas of Cordillera with the recent edition of the Science Nation Tour in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). The Science Nation Tour is a nationwide roadshow that aims to highlight the benefits of DOST programs and technologies in every region of the archipelago.
To showcase how science and technology directly impacts people’s livelihoods and day-to-day living, part of its activities is a series of project visits to micro firms within the region which benefited from DOST’s SETUP, or Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, which provides assistance to micro, small, and medium enterprises.
In CAR, project visits were made to Green Salad Farms and the St. Bede Mushroom and Vegetable Growers Association, both in Bauko, Mountain Province; and to Aurochs Aerospace Precision Manufacturing Corporation (AAPMC) in Loakan, Baguio City.
These three firms achieved an increase in production and gross sales after the technological interventions given to them through SETUP.
DOST assisted them in two phases: first, by upgrading the greenhouse for high value crop production in October 2010 and second, by upgrading Green Salad Farms in October 2014.
Assistance came in the form of the acquisition of a 1,500 square meter (sq. m.) greenhouse facility with one set drip irrigation system, colloid mill, double-jacketed kettle, pulverizer, electric dryer, steamer, and foot sealer for carrot processing; training on carrot-pineapple-mango juice processing and label design; laboratory testing of products; and information material support.
Green Salad Farms, which was an open field prior to the intervention, gradually increased its gross sales right from the first year. Previously, the firm posted R4.8 million (M) in gross sales. After the intervention, gross sales increased to R7.2 M for the first year, R7.7 M for the second year, and R8.6 M for the third year. They were also able to increase their production of Romaine lettuce from 96,000 kilograms (kg) to 144,000 kg.
Jonie B. Calawa and Jennifer A. Calawa, managers of Green Salad Farms, shared their thoughts: “I started with 200 sq. m., and then it expanded,” said Jonie Calawa. Jennifer Calawa also mentioned that the greenhouse helped a lot in preventing rain and mud from getting into their plants, and frost from damaging the crops.
Meanwhile, the St. Bede Mushroom and Vegetable Growers Association availed
themselves of SETUP’s services to upgrade their community-based oyster mushroom production. An autoclave and inoculating chamber were acquired while information material support was provided.
Lydia Orpilla, secretary of the association, said that prior to the intervention, they cooked using a makeshift stove made from a drum using firewood as fuel. Orpilla added that with their conventional method of sterilization, it took 5-6 hours to yield 80 bags. With the autoclave however, sterilization time was reduced to 3-4 hours and yield increased to 130 bags and more. Additionally, the inoculating chamber helped prevent contaminants from entering their spawn and fruiting bags.
On the other hand, the DOST’s assistance to AAPMC came through capacity and equipment upgrading via SETUP as well as its CREAMM Project (Clustering of Regional Enterprises for Agro-Industrial Machinery and Parts Manufacturing) and Manufacturing Productivity Extension or MPEX Consultancy.
AAMPC provides products and services to the industrial, automotive, aerospace and defense markets. The company was able to improve its process and production efficiency by integrating de-burring operations which involve the removal of unwanted materials from machine parts; improving the cleaning system for de-burred metal parts; training 63 individuals in deburring; and hiring nine regular employees and 33 part-time employees.
Truly, with the Science Nation Tour, “Agham na Ramdam” is more than just a tagline; rather, it is a reality, spreading throughout the regions of the Philippines to make the average Juan feel the many benefits of science and technology in their daily lives.
During the Science Nation tour at the Cordillera Administrative Region, Jennifer A. Calawa, manager of SETUP beneficiary Green Salad Farms, shows the various crops in their greenhouse at Guisguisan, Mount Data, Bauko, Mountain Province.
Abigail Ballo, a member of the St. Bede Mushroom and Vegetable Growers Association, shows their oyster mushroom facility at Monamon Sur, Bauko, Mountain Province.