Philippine Standard Time

DOST-PCAARRD calls for collective efforts to improve the sugarcane industry

“We are one in our objective of improving the sugarcane industry. If we have the will to help improve this industry, even if our resources are not that big, if we will continue to combine our efforts, we are going to achieve what we would like to achieve.”

From left to right: Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director; Mr. Pablo Luis Azcona, Administrator, DA-SR; Dr. Leah Buendia, Undersecretary for Research and Development DOST; and Engr. Terence Uygongco, President, PHILSURIN. (Image credit: ARMRD, DOST-PCAARRD)

This is what Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora emphasized during the “DOST Stakeholders Consultation on Supply/Value Chain Analysis and Development for the Sugarcane Industry,” recently held at the Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

Dr. Ebora is the Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources, Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

He added that DOST-PCAARRD, along with other government agencies and private institutions, have own initiatives. The initiatives hope to map out the different research and development (R&D) endeavors and seek for further complementation of efforts.

On the other hand, Mr. Pablo Luis Azcona, Administrator of the Sugarcane Regulatory Administration (SRA), reiterated the mandate of the current administration for supply self-sufficiency.

“It was not a question of supply security, but supply self-sufficiency... The thrust of the current administration is to encourage and help farmers in all different aspects, including research to boost local production and avoid importation,” he said.

Furthermore, Azcona quipped that the weight of the very existence and relevance of SRA and the industry in general lies in research, development, and extension (RDE). He emphasized the need for collaboration among SRA, the Philippine Sugar Research Institute (PHILSURIN), DOST, and PCAARRD to improve national production and avoid importation.

One of the most significant tasks of the Office of the Undersecretary for Research and Development, currently being led by Dr. Leah J. Buendia, is funding support from DOST for the implementation of several programs and projects. These include the DOST Start-Up Grants, Technology Business Incubation (TBI) Program, the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), Community Empowerment for Science and Technology (CEST), Grants-in Aid Program (GIA), and Science for Change Program (S4CP), among others.

During the consultation, Dr. Buendia cited Industry Level Collaborative R&D to Leverage Philippine Economy (ICRADLE), which is a collaboration between the private agency and the academe.

She stated, “If the industry wants a solution for a specific problem, the counterpart State College or University or a Higher Education Institute can provide the research.  The ICRADLE is a cluster of five private institutions having similar problem.”

PHILSURIN President Terence Uygongco, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of supply/value chain analysis and development in enhancing every aspect of the sugarcane industry. It is through this approach that bottlenecks are identified, processes are streamlined, and hidden potentials are unlocked. He said, “The collaboration with DOST provides us with a unique opportunity to infuse scientific rigor, cutting edge technology, and innovative methodologies into our efforts.”

More importantly, Engr. Uygonco remarked that partnerships are the lifeblood of progress.  “These partnerships enable us to combine our strengths, share knowledge and work collectively towards a common goal. The prospect of a potential partnership and grant is more than a financial opportunity. It is a recognition of the impactful work we have done and a call to further action, to dream bigger and achieve greater,” for a robust sugarcane industry in the country.

Participants of the “DOST Stakeholders Consultation on Supply/Value Chain Analysis and Development for the Sugarcane Industry.” Seated in front (from left to right): Engr. Rowen Gelonga, Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, Dr. Leah Buendia, Administrator Pablo Luis Azcona, Mr. Francis de la Rama, Engr. Terence Uygongco, and Mr. Jesus Barerra. Other participants are representatives from Philippine Sugar Millers Association, First Farmers Association, Hawaiian-Philippine Company, Confederation of Sugar Producers Association Inc., Negros Occidental Provincial Science and Technology Office, Sugar Regulatory Administration, University of San Agustin, Iloilo Science and Technology University, University of Saint Lasalle, PHILSURIN, DOST-Central Office, DOST-PCAARRD, DOST-Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Research and Development, and DOST-Regional Office VI, and an agricultural service provider.