The DOST’s first ever on-site mobile food testing laboratory and facility project marks its first year after it was established last October 2020, that’s the 1st Science for the People-Smart Food Value Chain Facility and Manufacturing Village at Barangay Colonia in Tuburan, Cebu.

Spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office VII and the Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative (LAMAC MPC), this Smart Food Value Chain and Manufacturing Village Facility has been serving its purpose to the local communities of Cebu. This facility is aligned with its core mission to develop an agricultural innovative technology for food safety that is self-sustaining and can transform raw agricultural materials to become high-value and high-quality products.

The major regional crop of the Cordillera Administrative Region or CAR is potato, where 86% of the country’s potato production comes from the region with more than 5,819 hectares planted to this crop (data from PSA 2018). Photo Courtesy of DOST-CAR

The Potato R&D Center is one of the three research and development (R&D) centers established under the Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER) Program of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Science for Change Program. According to DOST-CAR, the said facility is the first center created to provide quality potato seeds farmers in the country. The center was launched last October 2019.

Photo Courtesy: CLSU Hydroponics Aquaponics FB Page

Infected with a complex strain of technological and economic crisis, the Philippine vegetable industry has been referred to in an almost ‘comatose’ condition for so many years, and it threatens the country’s food security.

Some experts say that the present system of local agriculture is no longer suitable, especially in the vegetable industry, wherein, there’s the fast-growing population, increasing hunger demand, rapid development of rural areas to become urban jungles, global warming, and climate change.

True to its mandate, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) hails the outstanding micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that were assisted under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), one of the flagship programs of the department that empowers MSMEs to level up.

For 2021 alone, 507 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) were provided assistance and some 3,000 workers were provided employment, thus contributing to the upliftment of said local enterprises, especially during this time of the pandemic, DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang confirmed in an interview.

Proper fermentation in the production of coconut wine, known locally as lambanog, is important to prevent poisoning, and the local experts reiterate the warnings to distillers over the drink’s high methanol content.

Last December 2019, 300 individuals were reportedly hospitalized in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, with signs of poisoning, after drinking lambanog with high levels of methanol.

‘Lambanog poisoning is caused by residual methanol, which in high levels becomes highly toxic for humans. Methanol is naturally occurring substance present during the distilling process, that should be separated and removed thereafter’, DOH said in a statement released in the last quarter of 2019.