Redefining technology transfer in the Philippine agri-aqua sector

Deployment, extension, and commercialization. These are the technology transfer strategies of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) for the Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources (AANR) sector.

Dr. Melvin B. Carlos, Director of the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division of DOST-PCAARRD discussed these strategies during the press conference held at the DOST-PCAARRD Innovation and Technology Center (DPITC) on March 17, 2017. DOST-PCAARRD is the planning council for the AANR sector.

According to Dr. Carlos, deployment and extension are resorted to when effective technology utilization and adoption are influenced by non-market considerations. On the other hand, Commercialization is resorted to for technologies that can reach users and adopters more efficiently through the market system.

Deployment is the pathway used during extraordinary circumstances for food and production input technologies, particularly in times of disaster and natural calamities. It is also used during pest and disease outbreaks for biocontrol technologies and disease-resistant varieties/breeds. This strategy is also adopted for technologies that are not easily affordable or accessible to farmers and fisherfolk such as machineries, post-harvest and processing equipment, hatcheries, and nurseries. Deployment is also the main approach to address concerns on natural resources like watersheds, inland water bodies, coastal areas, and coral reefs. In all cases, deployment achieves adoption and realizes full technology utilization only when it comes with sufficient “extension” services. Hence, PCAARRD provides deployment cum extension as a package.

Technology transfer by extension is the most dominant pathway for most PCAARRD-funded technologies because majority of these technologies are component, knowledge-based tools and cultural management practices rather than readily marketable technology inputs or products. As such, customized and modality-based extension projects are the most effective and efficient technology delivery system. These extension modalities encompass training, organizing, technical assistance, critical input subsidies for S&T-based enterprise development, process documentation, and sustainability planning.

The third and last technology transfer pathway is through commercialization. With the enactment of the Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009 (Republic Act 10055), PCAARRD adopted an aggressive stance in pursuing the commercialization of new agri-aqua technologies to help bring about highly productive agri-aqua based business enterprises. At the heart of this strategy is the establishment of the DPITC, which is envisioned to serve as a one-stop hub for technology owners and generators, investors, end-users and other stakeholders to facilitate the commercialization of technologies generated in the AANR sector. Its activities include capability building; networking and linkaging; providing funds and technical services; and as venue for technology promotion and marketing; and business acceleration.

While there are three technology transfer pathways, they are not mutually exclusive and all three end up in the adoption of technologies. Over time, technologies transferred via deployment and/or extension projects may lead to the development of enterprises, and as such proceed to the commercialization pathway. Such is the case for S&T-based enterprises like the Lao Integrated Farms, Inc. for high valued coconut food products, and Baryo Froyo for frozen dairy buffalo products. The reverse is also true because after technologies enter the commercialization pathway, the initial adopters produce and distribute the technology products for downstream users to adopt.

Dr. Carlos announced that technologies ready for commercialization include agri-aqua machineries, diagnostic kits, feeds, biofertilizers, food products, and plant and animal breeds.