By Estrella Z. Gallardo
The Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Sto. Tomas, La Union Institute of fisheries (IF) in collaboration with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) spearheaded the first ever Glacilaria Festival.
Glacilaria Festival. highlighted the importance of gracilaria a local resources type of seaweed of very important economic value. The Part of the Festival was the cookfest competition, which paved the way for innovative dishes made from gracilaria. The dishes ranged from soups, main courses, breads, dimsums, and desserts.
DMMMSU officials acknowledged PCAARRD’s support particularly for the Institute of Fisheries which enabled it to earn its 2nd best academic unit title in the whole of DMMMSU System in 2013.
Dr. Melvin B. Carlos, director of PCAARRD’s Technology Transfer and Promotion Division, in response, stressed the importance of partnership with state colleges and universities (SUCs) particularly in projects such as the STCBF.
He added that the festival, being well attended, indicates the project’s success and conveys abundance and prosperity in the aquatic sector with its many business opportunities, which can only be achieved through a focused science and technology.
“As such, we need to plan for the institutionalization of the project for continuity and expansion beyond the completion date,” Dr. Carlos said. Carlos, likewise, values the need for convergence among government agencies, non-government offices, and SUCs for a more sustainable development project.
Dr. Jinnie M. Mamhot, leader of the gracilaria project, reported the project’s accomplishments which include having organized a cluster of gracilaria producers, capacitating seaweed growers, enhancing farming facilities, reducing drying period (up to 200%), and installation of communal mechanical dryers to improve the quality of the dried seaweeds.
Mamhot also explained that the production of good quality gracilaria, has increased from 6,000 kg/ha (produced on the wild) to 106,720 kg/ha (culture production).
From the previous market price of P10/kg of the said seaweed, the selling price increased to P30/kg. This can be attributed to the higher quality achieved through the use of the hygienic mechanical solar dryer. The said mechanism reduced drying time from 2-3 days to 1 day. It also improved the color and reduced the moisture content of the seaweed dramatically.
Dr. Dalisay DG. Fernandez, Director of PCAARRD’s Inland Aquatic Resources Division, served as Chair of the Board of Judges for the cookfest.
With PCAARRD’s S&T interventions, a wider adoption of gracilaria farming technology in Rosario and Sto. Tomas, La Union was realized.
The project enhanced the participation among gracilaria resource users and capacitated them in promoting the seaweed’s resource management and sustainability.
(PScijourn Mega Manila)