20 R&D Centers seeking to boost agri, aquatic, natural resources sector featured in NICER summit

Published December 3, 2021, 3:02 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) is committed to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Zero Hunger, Life below Water, and Life on Land through facilitating the establishment of 20 Research and Development (R&D) Centers or Niche Centers in the Regions or NICER.

(Screengrab from DOST-Science for Change Facebook page)

During the first NICER Summit held on Friday, Dec. 3, the DOST-PCAARRD showcased 20 NICERs which seek to boost the agriculture, aquatic, natural resources (AANR) sector. The virtual event is anchored on the theme, “Accelerating STI in the Country through a Regionally Inclusive R&D.”

The setting up of the R&D centers was made possible through the NICER sub-program of DOST’s Science for Change program.

DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora said as of 2021, they have established 20 NICERs in 16 regions covering 18 commodities.

Of the 20 NICERs, eight stand to benefit the crops subsector, three in livestock, five in marine and aquatic resources, two each in forestry and in biodiversity, he said.

“The NICERs in the AANR sector are expected to further strengthen partnerships and collaboration between and among the R&D institutions across the country working on common commodities through complementation of efforts and sharing of information and expertise,” Ebora said in his message during the summit.

NICER seeks to capacitate higher education institutions (HEI) in all 17 regions to make significant strides in regional research by integrating its development need with the existing R&D research capabilities and resources. It provides institutional grant for R&D capacity building to improve their S&T infrastructure.

The DOST-PCAARRD said the establishment of the NICERs will assist the country in achieving UN’s SDGs 2, 14, and 15.

“To help us achieve the SDGs, we are pursuing: to further strengthen technology transfer; develop inclusive value chains; promote science-informed policies for accelerated AANR development and digital inclusion support. These initiatives complement the NICER,” Ebora said.

(Screengrab from DOST-Science for Change Facebook page)

The 11 NICERs that seek to address Zero Hunger are focused on potato, sweet potato, pili, citrus, halal goat, native pig, native chicken, garlic and other condiments, queen pineapple, cacao, and tamarind.

These are the following:

-Potato R&D Center led by Director Cynthia Kiswa of the Benguet State University;

-Sweetpotato R&D Center led by Dr. Lilibeth Laranang of Tarlac Agricultural University;

-Pili R&D Center led by Dr. Marissa Estrella of Bicol University;

-Citrus R&D Center led by Dr. Dumale, Wilfredo Arellano of Nueva Vizcaya State University;

-Halal Goat Science and Innovation Center led by Dr. Ruby Hechanova of Sultan Kudarat State University;

-Native Pig R&D Center led by Dr. Arnold Monleon of Marinduque State College;

-Native Chicken R&D led by Dr. Elderico Tabal of Western Mindanao State University;

-Garlic and Other Condiments R&D Center led by Dr. Dionisio S. Bucao of Mariano Marcos State University;

-Queen Pineapple R&D Center led by Dr. Arlene Alegre of Camarines Norte State College;

-Cacao R&D Center led by Dr. Edward C. Barlaan of University of Southern Mindanao; and

-Tamarind R&D Center led by Dr. Virgilio Gonzales of Pampanga State Agricultural University.

(Screengrab from DOST-Science for Change Facebook page)

The five R&D centers that address Life below Water zero in on seaweeds, mollusk, crustaceans, and sea cucumber.

These include:

Seaweeds R&D Center led by Dr. Sitti Zayda B. Halun of Mindanao State University Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography;

Mollusk R&D Center led by Dr. Karen Villarta of University of the Philippines Visayas;

Crustaceans R&D Center led by Dr. Jesus Racuyal of Samar State University;

Sea Cucumber R&D Center led by Dr. Wilfredo Uy of Mindanao State University-Naawan; and

Freshwater Fisheries Center led by Dr. Isagani Angeles of Isabela State University.

(Screengrab from DOST-Science for Change Facebook page)

The NICERs that aim to address SDG of Life on Land are focused on biodiversity, caves, and bamboo. These are Biodiversity R&D Center led by Dr. Archiebald Malaki of Cebu Technological University; Caves R&D Center led by Dr. Juan Carlos T. Gonzalez of the University of the Philippines Los Baños; and Bamboo R&D Center led by Lowell G. Aribal of Central Mindanao University.