Newly-designed pili machine prototypes were showcased during the visit of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) to the Pili Research & Development (R&D) Center in Guinobatan, Albay.
Funded under the Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER) Program of DOST, The Pili R&D Center is a three-year program being implemented by the Bicol University (BU), Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA), and Partido State University (ParSU) under the overall leadership of Dr. Marissa N. Estrella of BU.
The visit showcased the outputs of the project “Techno-Mapping and Retro-fitting of Existing Pili Postharvest Processing Equipment in the Bicol Region” headed by Engr. Estrella Calpe of BU College of Agriculture and Forestry (BUCAF).
BU President, Dr. Arnulfo M. Mascariñas welcomed and congratulated the NICER team for its accomplishments and extended his gratitude to DOST-PCAARRD for its continuous support of the R&D efforts of the university, specifically to the Pili R&D Center.
Dr. Estrella presented the activities and milestones achieved by the seven component projects of the NICER program.
The newly-upgraded Plant Pathology Laboratory in the BUCAF campus was also visited. This is being used in the identification of emerging diseases of pili. The team also monitored the status of transplanted pili seedlings applied with biofertilizers in a cooperator’s farm.
The newly designed pili machine prototypes include sorter, depulper, nutcracker, testa remover, and oil extractor, which feature satisfactory machine efficiency and economic viability.
The Program Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Team of the Crops Research Division of DOST-PCAARRD, composed of its Head, Ms. Renelle C. Yebron, together with Mr. Alvin Quiel C. Sabanal, commodity specialist for Pili, led the discussion on M&E concerns.
According to DOST-PCAARD, throughout the years, despite increasing demand for pili with its numerous benefits and uses, challenges still remain.
“Thus, market requirements have not been met by growers and processors due to lack of equipment for post-production and processing operations. Many of the growers still manually harvest and process their produce, prompting them to sell their produce at very low prices,” DOST-PCAARD said.
“R&D initiatives led by the DOST-PCAARRD address these concerns through appropriate technologies and innovations in processing,” it added.