LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) pursuit toward “Agham na Ramdam” for every ‘Juan’ has reached the far flung areas of Cordillera with the holding of its Science Nation Tour in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) recently.
Science Nation Tour is a nationwide roadshow that aims to highlight the benefits of DOST programs and technologies in every region of the archipelago.
To showcase how science and technology directly impact on people’s livelihoods and day to day living, part of its activities is a series of project visits to micro firms within the region which benefited from DOST’s SETUP, or Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program which provides assistance to micro, small and medium enterprises.
In CAR, project visits were made to Green Salad Farms and St. Bede Mushroom and Vegetable Growers Association, both in Bauko, Mountain Province; and in Aurochs Aerospace Precision Manufacturing Corporation (AAPMC) in Loakan, Baguio City.
These three firms achieved an increase in production and gross sales after the technological interventions given to them through SETUP.
DOST assisted them in two phases: first, by upgrading the greenhouse for high value crops production which was implemented in October 2010 and second, by upgrading Green Salad Farms, implemented in October 2014.
Assistance came in the form of: acquisition of a 1,500 sqm greenhouse facility with one set drip irrigation system, colloid mill, double jacketed kettle, pulveriser, electric dryer, steamer, foot sealer for carrot processing; training on carrot-pineapple-mango juice processing and label design; laboratory testing of products and information material support.
Green Salad Farms, which was an open field prior to the intervention, gradually increased its gross sales right from the first year. Before, the firm posted P 4.8M in gross sales. After the intervention, gross sales increased to P 7.2M for the first year, P 7.7M for the second year and P 8.6M for the third year. They were also able to increase their produce of Romaine lettuce from 96,000 kg to 144,000 kg.
Jonie B. Calawa and Jennifer A. Calawa, managers of Green Salad Farms shared their thoughts: “I started with 200 sqm, and then it expanded,” said Jonie. Jennifer also mentioned that the greenhouse helped a lot in preventing rain and mud from getting into their crops and frost from damaging the crops.
Meanwhile, St. Bede Mushroom and Vegetable Growers Association availed SETUP to upgrade their community-based oyster mushroom production. An autoclave and inoculating chamber were acquired while information material support was provided.
Lydia Orpilla, secretary of St. Bede Mushroom and Vegetable Growers Association, said that prior to the intervention, “Nagluluto kami sa drum, firewood ang gamit naming panggatong (We cooked and we were using firewood as fuel).” She said that with their conventional method of sterilization, it took 5-6 hours with a capacity of 80 bags. With the autoclave however, sterilization time was reduced to 3-4 hours with 130 and more bag capacity. Additionally, the inoculating chamber aided the prevention of contaminants in their spawn and fruiting bags.
On the other hand, DOST assisted AAPMC through capacity and equipment upgrading via SETUP as well as its CREAMM Project (Clustering of Regional Enterprises for Agro-Industrial Machinery and Parts Manufacturing) and Manufacturing Productivity Extension or MPEX Consultancy.
AAMPC provides products and services to the industrial, automotive, aerospace and defense markets. The company was able to improve its process and production efficiency by integrating de-burring operations which involve the removal of unwanted materials from machine parts, by improving the cleaning system for de-burred metal parts, training 63 individuals in deburring, and hiring nine regular employees and 33 part-time employees.
Truly, with the Science Nation Tour – “Agham na Ramdam” is more than just a tagline; rather, it is an actuality – happening and spreading in the regions of the Philippines to make the average Juan feel the many benefits of science and technology in his daily life.
Ma. Lilibeth P. Padilla