THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has reiterated its support to initiatives and undertakings in scientific research, production and commercialization of organic herbal food supplements and other products that are beneficial to Filipinos and the world.
Representing DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña at the groundbreaking rites for a facility at the Isabela State University (ISU) main campus in Echague, Isabela recently, Undersecretary Brenda Manzano affirmed their agency's "full support for collaborative undertakings" related to DOST's mandate and mission.
The ISU facility is designed as a storage and processing center of materials for the manufacture of herbal food supplements and alternative herbal medicine preparations. It has financial assistance from DOST and the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc., which was facilitated by former ISU Board of Regents member Charles T. Lim.
The groundbreaking ceremonies were presided over by Undersecretary Dr. Nazareth-Manzano, ISU president Dr. Ricmar Aquino, Charles T. Lim of FCCC, and Bauertek Corp. Board Chair and General Manager Richard Nixon Gomez.
The project is a partnership undertaking among DOST, ISU, FCCCI and Bauertek Corp.
Also present at the rites were Cagayan Valley Director Engr. Sancho Mabborang and other officials of the project's partner institutions.
Immediately after the groundbreaking rites, the partner agencies' officials signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the project.
Manzano described the undertaking as a "rare and ideal partnership among the government, private industry sector and academe."
A 10-hectare area of the ISU Echague campus has been set aside as a prototype model plantation of "Malunggay" (moringa) and other herbs like Piperine (pepper), Curcumin (tumeric) and Guyabano which have been proven to have medicinal value and properties.
Scientific botanical research studies on plant growth, nutrient enhancement, medical value exploration and related concerns will be undertaken in prototype plantation which may later be expanded.
Gomez noted that the plants mentioned are used in cosmetic and related products.
"Turmeric, however, is a real deal" for herbal food supplements which can be upscaled to global marketing since it is a leading herbal supplement ingredient and tops traditional medicine worldwide, said Gomez, Bauertek's founder.
The processed plantation products will subsequently be transferred to Bauertek for laboratory treatments, commercialization and packaging for commercialization and marketing distribution.
In a statement, Manzano said the partnership linkage will bolster the science and technology (S&T) ecosystem, making it productive. She also lauded ISU president Ricmar Aquino for prioritizing S&T, which commitment will "add to the body of knowledge with outputs that benefit the general public."
Mabborang, for his part, stressed the "undertaking goes beyond mere research and would redound to community empowerment."
He said it will help farmers cultivate and raise and raise high-value alternative crops that can provide them significantly higher income than traditional farming to which Gomez eagerly agreed.
ISU president Ricmar Aquino thanked the partner-agencies for involving their institution in the partnership.
In his speech during the rites, he pledged that ISU "will do its part with all the technology and resources it has to help make in Region number one" in agricultural productivity.
Simultaneous with the talks on herb production, another agreement was forged between ISU and the Red Dragon Farm (RDF) Feed Livestock and Foods Inc., the firm behind the Fresh Options Meat shop.
The accord will make the Technology Business Incubation project of ISU's Cagayan Valley Small Ruminants Research Center Integrated Slaughterhouse and Meat Processing Center, as the platform for RDF's North Luzon expansion, and its production of processed-meat products particularly pork tocino, pork longganisa, and pork tapa. (PR)