Experts find solutions for high-tech agriculture

Localities need to set up plans for hi-tech agricultural areas in accordance with regional growing and climate conditions.

This is the solution that delegates emphasised at an agriculture forum with the theme “High-tech application in agricultural production adaptation to climate change in the south central coastal areas”. The forum was held on Friday in the central city of Da Nang by the National Centre for Agricultural Extension and the Da Nang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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One-stop for technical services in food, biotech sectors

BENGALURU: FOBICS – Food and Biotechnology Consultancy Services – was started with the idea of transferring technologies from the various technology-developing agencies. It provides the knowledge base and technological support to micro, small and medium enterprises by rendering competent and innovative technical services in the food and biotech sector.

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R&D should include commercialisation of research products

Research and development should not stop at the exploration of natural resources, but proceed on to commercialise research products for the good of society.

“A research finding should pave the way to positively change people’s livelihood and improve the nation’s economy in terms of product development and commercialisation,” said Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) director-general Datuk Dr Mohamad Roff Mohd Noor.

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Chinese funds pour US$1.4b into US biotechnology firms in the first three months of the year

It’s unclear whether a deepening trade rift with the US could slow the stream of cash from China to medical innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley and Cambridge, Massachusetts

Chinese investors are pumping money into US drug start-ups as Beijing seeks to become a global leader in new medicines, adding to a flood of cash flowing to groundbreaking health firms. Read more

PH needs 19,000 more scientists, researchers

William Dar, the former Agriculture secretary, said that with scientific interventions, the country’s farming sector would be able to increase yields and farmers could venture into value-addition, or the production of finished or semi-processed products for export.

Citing figures from the UN Trade Map, Dar, in one of his columns in The Manila Times, said the country was still a net food importer as it exported $5.7 billion worth of farm and food products in 2016 and imported $11 billion, for a deficit of $5.9 billion.

In comparison, Thailand exported $42.2 billion in farm products in 2016 and bought from abroad $15.7 billion for a surplus of $26.5 billion; Indonesia, $36.5 billion in farm exports and $17.9 billion in agricultural imports for a surplus of $18.6 billion; Malaysia, $26.7 billion in farm exports and $17.4 billion in agricultural imports for a surplus of $9.3 billion; and Vietnam, $23.1 billion in farm exports and $14.5 billion in agricultural imports for a surplus of $8.6 billion.

Dar blamed the inadequate number of Filipino scientists for the country’s being a laggard in farm exports compared with its Southeast Asian neighbors.

Citing Unesco recommendations, he said the Philippines had a very low researcher/scientist ratio per million of people. The agency recommends 380 scientists/researchers per million population, but the Philippines only has 189 researchers/scientists per million.

This means the country needs at least 19,000 more scientists.

Dar said countries that are industrialized exceed the Unesco recommendation: Israel has 8,300 researchers/scientists per million population, South Korea has 6,900, Singapore 6,700, Malaysia 2,100, and Thailand, 974.

Chief astronomer Dario de la Cruz of the state-run Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) told The Manila Times that some government-funded scientific facilities needed a “revamp” or relocation to perform more efficiently.

Ang observatory pa nga lang natin, hindi na ideal site ito for astronomy dahil sobrang luma na [Even our observatory is not an ideal site for astronomical activities anymore because of its old and worn out facilities],” said de la Cruz.

Pagasa’s astronomical observatory, which recently invited more than a thousand sky watchers for the rare “super blue blood moon event” at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, has been standing on the site in Quezon City since 1954.

-Written by Mary Gleefer Jalea in The Manila Times with report from Conrad Cariño. See original link here.

DOST, UP bat for first ‘smart farm’ in PHL

The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) is putting its stakes to fund the country’s first “smart farm.”

The smart farm is a facility for the Smart Plant Production in Controlled Environments (Spice), a P128-million program that will promote urban farming and high-tech plant conservation.

It will be housed at the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute’s Nursery of Indigenous and Endemic Plants in Quezon City. Teaming up to develop the Spice are the UP Diliman Institute of Biology and Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, and UP Los Baños Institute of Biology.

This program aims to lead the research and development (R&D) for the design of a stand-alone urban-farm system and establish protocols for micropropagation, cryopreservation and nursery management of rare, endangered and economically valuable native plant species.

“The core of this project is not only the development of new technology, but also, on a macro perspective, to ensure that we can protect our country’s rich biodiversity,” Science Undersecretary for R&D Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara said.

Modern-farming methods like vertical farming, micropropagation, cryopreservation and hydroponics will be practiced to grow native plants in an environment wherein the climate, the lighting and the irrigation system can be monitored, controlled and changed real-time through the use of electronics, sensors and automation.

“My idea of internationalization is exporting our own ideas, that foreign scientists will come to the country to study trees that are endemic here. Spice is an innovation project,” UP Executive Vice President Dr. Teodoro Herbosa remarked. National Scientist and UP Professor Emeritus Dr. Edgardo Gomez shared his experiences in biology and commended the team for initiating the project.

“This [Spice] will be a world-class institute,” Gomez said.

Besides the technical features of the project, the facility is envisioned to include a “living laboratory,” where visitors can see the various technologies employed and store where they can buy fresh vegetables grown on site.

-Written by S&T Media Service. See original article link here.

UP student org named Tech Visionary at Tayo Awards

FOR promoting and revitalizing the appreciation of agriculture among the youth, the University of the Philippines Genetic Researchers and Agricultural Innovators Society (UP GRAINS) from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was recognized by Lenovo Philippines as an Outstanding Tech Visionary in this year’s Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (Tayo) 15 Awards, held recently at the AG New World Manila Bay Hotel. Read more

Balik Scientist bill gets bicam panel’s nod

The Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will finally be institutionalized and strengthened in order to encourage the Filipino scientists who have been working in foreign countries to return to the Philippines so they could participate and contribute to the development of the country. Read more

PhilRice develops rice varieties that can withstand water-related stress

Farmers may no longer have to worry about low yield on the weight of water-related stress, thanks to some stress resistant rice varieties that were just recently developed by Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). Read more

Pakistan: New breeding technologies successful to grow salt resistant crops

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 15th Mar, 2018 ): Prof Mark Tester, a world renowned authority on Food security on Thursday said new technologies of breeding crops would be helpful to convert any crop become salt resistant to control scarcity of food globally. Read more

UPLABS holds annual National Biotechnology Summit 2018

To continue its mission to raise awareness about biotechnology, the UP League of Agricultural Biotechnology Students (UPLABS), holds its annual National Biotechnology Summit (NBS), a four-day biotechnology awareness program, on March 5-9, 2018 at the University of the Philippines Los Banos. Read more