Pili is an endemic plant species in the Philippines with an annual production averaging to 7,360 metric tons (mt) per year. Exportation of pili nuts enjoyed an increasing trend from 18 mt in 2015 to 124 mt in 2017. Not only are pili trees grown for their nuts, they also offer pulp oil which equally commands high market price.
About 80% of the total number of pili fruit-bearing trees in the country is in the Bicol Region. Both the local and foreign market have taken delight to pili which provided substantial economic gains to the country.
To provide the rightful value to pili, the Department of Science and Technology – Science for Change Program (S4CP) granted funding to the Bicol University (BU) together with Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) and Partido State University (ParSU) to implement the Pili Research and Development (R&D) Center under the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program.
The NICER Program aims to establish R&D Centers in the regions to contribute to regional development.
It is hoped that through the Pili R&D Center, the Bicol Region will further improve and progress by strengthening its foremost asset which is the pili industry.
During the recently conducted inception meeting for the project, Program Leader Dr. Marissa N. Estrella of BU shared that the program aims to provide S&T-based interventions to the industry by developing enhanced production and post-harvest technologies. These are expected to increase the yield and overall production of pili nut in the country.
Potential outcomes of the Pili R&D Center include increased pili yield from 3.3 mt/ha to 3.63 mt/ha; distribution of 10,000 planting materials in 100 ha areas in Bicol; improved pili pest and disease protocol; enhanced pili nut postharvest processing equipment technologies, and maintained comprehensive and efficient pili knowledge management system.
Seven component projects are geared toward the fulfillment of the objectives of the Pili R&D Center in BU which will benefit pili growers in the Bicol Region, researchers and breeders, agricultural technicians, traders, processors, input providers, nursery owners and operators, R&D planners, researchers, and policymakers.
The Pili R&D Center is a three-year project being monitored by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).