BAR, MNCCI to strengthen agri-business
By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- Recognizing the important role of research and development (R&D) in the advancement of agriculture and fisheries sector, the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has been in the forefront of coordinating and supporting researches and technologies developed by R&D institutions to address both production and profitability. Addressing the officers and members of the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) during its 1st quarter membership meeting last Jan. 27 at the Avenue Convention Plaza here, Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, executive director of DA’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), said that the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) of the government has been institutionalized as early as 2006 to ensure that technologies are strategically placed and transferred in areas and communities that need them most. This way, he said, specific attention is given to strengthen a market-driven approach, thereby benefitting stakeholders of the value chain. In Bicol, he said, researches from the academe like the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) and Bicol University (BU), along with the strong collaboration of LGUs have generated technologies for Bicol farmers and fisher folk. He mentioned that BAR had supported researches on commodities that are abundant in Bicol. He named these commodities as pili, Queen pineapple, Spanish red pineapple, abaca, rimas, coffee, cacao, carabao mango, jute sack, soybean, mungbean garlic, batuan, coconut, sasema, gabi, siling labuyo, stevia, sweet sorghum, pigeon pea, agro-forestry, and edible landscaping technology. For fisheries and livestock, BAR also supported technologies on seaweeds, squid, mudcrab, tamban, fish canning and value-added fishery products, native pig, native chicken, goat, and bee, among others. He said that BAR also provides a communication platform for technology generators, microfinance institutions, marketing specialists, and other sectors to present and exchange various information and knowledge on the production, processing, packaging, financing, and marketing of agriculture and fishery products. Albay, he said, was one of the pilot areas during the launch of the technology package program in 2016. He encouraged the MNCCI for a public-private partnership towards building a strong, sustainable and progressive agri-business enterprise resulting to job generation and augmenting family income. For his part, Ferdinand Sia, newly-inducted president of the MNCCI said in his inaugural address that with Camarines Sur, to which Metro Naga belongs, being a predominantly agricultural province, the MNCCI will be working towards strengthening agri-entrepreneurship that will at the same time empower the farmers and fishermen as productive members of the community. In collaboration with BAR and DA, the MNCCI is eyeing to put up an incubation center for marketing, packaging and promotion, technology transfer, and training of stakeholders in both the agriculture and fishery sectors. The MNCCI’s quarterly membership meeting where Dr. Eleazar was the main speaker and guest of honor also coincided with the induction of the chamber’s new board of directors and members led by President Sia.