DOST seeks to address hunger, malnutrition through R&D efforts

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is seeking to help ensure food security and address malnutrition in the country through its research and development (R&D initiatives.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said Tuesday, Oct. 19, that malnutrition is one of the major problems faced by countries worldwide.

He noted that there were around 821 million undernourished people were recorded worldwide in 2017, citing data from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

“It for this reason that the DOST is constantly making actions that would help address this pressing issue,” de la Peña said in a symposium entitled “REvolution: A Symposium on Research Evolution towards a Society Centric R&D.”

“The department through its councils and R&D institutes has undertaken various activities and initiatives to alleviate hunger and overcome malnutrition,” he added.

Among these initiatives was the creation of the carrot-variant of the enhanced Nutribun by the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (FNRI).

The new and improved variant was officially launched in April this year, next to the first variant which used squash.

Just last week, the DOST has also launched another variant of the Nutribun, now using “kamote” or sweet potato as one of the main ingredients.

“This initiative helps address the problem of food insecurity and the need for nutritious food,” de la Peña said.

Another initiative of the DOST under its Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) is the documentation of indigenous vegetables in the country, which has documented 145 indigenous vegetables from 20 provinces.

“This project would help increase awareness and consumption of healthy vegetables in the country,” he said.

Moreover, the council also kicked off a project entitled “Development of Smart Food Value Chain Models for Selected Agricultural Products.”

It aims to map and asses the value or supply chains of coffee, carrot, milk fish, native chicken, and strawberry in selected regions.

“Given that the Philippines is an agricultural country, perhaps we can utilize these resource to provide solutions for hunger and malnutrition,” de la Peña said.