SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR – To provide farmers a centralized hub for their value added products which are ready for commercialization, the DA Bicol together with the Bureau of Agricultural Research, launched the DA TechnoMerkado inside the DA 5 compound here on February 20, 2024.

A total of 130 food and non-food products of 30 Farmer Cooperative and Associations (FCAs) were showcased at the DA TechnoMerkado and are available for sale starting today. Among the products displayed were mushroom chicharon, cacao chocolates, vegetable chips, banana chips, cassava crisps, papaya pickles, coco and banana vinegar, salad dressing, processed fish, seaweed noodles, fresh milk, rabbit meat, corned beef, and longanisa.

There are also freshly harvested lettuce, root crops, fruits and vegetables.

For non-food products, there are bags made of abaca, pili accessories, pili pulp oil and soap.

Director Junel B. Soriano of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) who personally graced the event and visited the different projects inside the regional office which were funded under the bureau. “Dito ko nakita ang hinahanap ko. I congratulate the men and women of DA 5 including former officials. Hindi po nagkamali ang BAR sa pagbibigay ng suporta sainyo.”

Director Soriano also recognized the efforts of the researchers and food processors who developed the different technologies which are now being offered to the public for commercialization. “Isa sa mga output of technology na binibigyang pansin ng DA-BAR ay ang mga food products. Pagkadevelop ng product, andyan pa din ang BAR para magbigay ng technology commercialization support dahil walang saysay ang research kung hindi nagamit at napagkakitaan ng farmers,” he added. He challenged the farmers and the researchers to sustain their efforts.

DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla said that these products were produced through research and the consequent adoption of generated technologies by the farmer beneficiaries of DA and BAR funded projects. Most of the products are value added which can give farmers additional income while waiting for harvest season. “Ito po ay panimula upang maging negosyante ang mga magsasaka na hindi kayang magkaroon ng pwesto sa mga malls, kaya binigyan natin sila ng venue where they can display their products.”

Director Tornilla committed to help the FCAs in linkaging with possible markets for their value added products.

The TechnoMerkado is at the ground floor of the Regional Technology Training Commercialization (RTCC) Building.

Dr. Edgar R. Madrid, RTD for Research and Regulations said that the RTCC also houses the offices of the Technology Business Incubation Program and Intellectual Property which is incharge of Knowledge Management Technology registration, patenting and licensing. Farmers are encouraged to visit and avail of the services of the RTCC.

Dr. Mercedita A. Sombilla, Undersecretary for DA Bureaus said that it is in Bicol that they witness the success of technology commercialization. But she challenged the researchers and farmers to continue discovering new innovations and technologies in view of the ever changing environment and the lingering economic crises. “Sana maimprove pa (ang mga produkto based on) quality standards para mai-compete ang ating mga produkto sa ibang bansa,” she said.

A number of beneficiaries of DA-BAR supported projects also gave their testimonies: Jorel Palma, member of Panicuason Highland Vegetable Growers Association, adapter of pelletized feeds technology; Emilyn Labor of the Helping Hands Community Association, project cooperator/producer of vegetable chips; and Mila Bongalbal, president of AMIA Village in Joroan, Tiwi whose products include lettuce produced thru hydroponics and aeroponics and processed meat products.

Ailyn Adante, OIC Chief of Research Division said that many Bicolano farmers are already into commercialization of the different technologies produced by the Research Division. As of this writing there are about close to 100 adopters of mushroom production technology who are already selling mushroom chicharon and other mushroom products, having attended the training being provided at the Mushroom Laboratory, also a BAR funded project.

Also present during the event were Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, OIC RTD for Operations; Arlene De Asis, Superintendent of Central Bicol Experiment Station; Sandy Bobier, incharge of the RTCC; other DA officials and farmers.

The DA Technomerkado is now open to public from Monday to Friday. The RTCC is also open to farmers who want to adopt the various matured technologies ready for farmers’ adaption such as tissue cultured banana, pineapple and taro. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5)