Twelve modern facilities with a total worth of P37.5 Million funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act 2 or Bayanihan 2 given by the DA – Bureau of Agricultural Research were completed and are now operational. The Bayanihan 2 fund lapsed on June 30, 2021.The project was implemented by the Research Division led by its chief, Corazon A. Orbon under the supervision of Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations Dr. Edgar R. Madrid. Eight facilities were established at the Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center (BIARC) inside the DA RFO 5 compound in Pili, Cam. Sur and four facilities were established at the Albay Research and Development Center (ARDC) – Albay Breeding Station in Cabangan, Camalig Albay.

At the BIARC inside the DA compound, the newly constructed facilities included three Solar Powered Irrigations Systems for the upland area and irrigated lowland areas supporting seed production for vegetables, legumes and rice; R4D trials for rice and varietal evaluation. Orbon said that the completion of 1 unit 30 Hp and 2 units 3 Hp submersible solar-powered irrigation pumps worth P10.49 M including rehabilitation of 4 irrigation canals consisting of 2,000 linear meter canal worth P5.5 M will boost the agency’s R&D trial for rice as well as production and distribution of stress-tolerant inbred rice seeds and high value crops to marginalized communities.

Meanwhile, the old motor pool was rehabilitated and turned into a state-of-the-art Crop Postharvest and R4D Facility to enhance GAP-compliance activities of rice, corn, and high value crops produced at the station. Orbon said that this will realize the long-time vision of the Research Division to produce safe products with reduced microbial contamination. Orbon added that the completion of this facility was very timely as the Research Division is currently producing volumes of seeds and planting materials for distribution to farmers in response to Plant, Plant, Plant Program or ALPAS kontra COVID-19.Also completed were the 2 units Native Chicken Research and Development Facility measuring 13 meters x 16 meters worth P1.99M each. It is equipped with cabinet-type incubators to ensure 100% hatchability of eggs.

Meanwhile, the completion of the second floor of the Mushroom R4D center will give way to more commercialization activity for mushroom production leading to enterprise development as the two-storey building has a spacious conference/ training room, an appropriate venue for mushroom production and value adding trainings. Upscaling of community-based production and processing of mushroom are on-going in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon with 15 MSMEs engaged into mushroom production and processing.

Meanwhile, in Albay Research and Development Center (ARDC) at Cabangan, Camalig, Albay, four modern facilities were constructed including the P 5.9 Million 2-storey Multi-purpose R4D facility (11m x 9m), equipped with offices, and conference rooms. Also constructed was one unit native chicken house worth P1.99 M and a 5 KVA Grid Tie Solar Power source and Solar Power Pump. Dr. Elsa Maranan, Station Head of the ARDC-ABS said that the solar powered facilities have ensured a sustainable supply of water and energy for all animal houses in the ARDC-ABS. The ARDC focuses on the production of good quality breeder swine, native pigs, and native chicken for sale or for distribution to interested raisers. The ARDC-ABS also provides extension services such as promotion of biogas technology, and serves as a learning site for On-the-Job Trainings on basic animal husbandry practices.

Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2 was designed to provide economic relief measures as a follow up to Bayanihan to Heal as One or Bayanihan 1 which was signed into law in March 2020 when Pres. Duterte placed Luzon under Enhanced Community Quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19.“Nagpapasalamat kami nang lubos sa Bureau of Agricultural Research led by Director Vivencio Mamaril for generously funding our project entitled “Enhancing Technology Transfer and Capacities in Bicol,” Dr. Edgar Madrid said. He added that the upgrading of the R4D facilities and ICT equipment will boost R4D making it responsive in promoting and enhancing agri-preneurship strategy for agricultural development in the region. (Lovella P. Guarin – DA RAFIS 5) (Photo credit: Jun Collantes and Hermito Privaldos)