Three experts from Argentina partnered with their counterparts from the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology, in a 10-day technical mission under the Philippines-Argentina Bilateral S&T Cooperation.
The visiting experts were Engr. Alejandro Gabriel Fernandez and Engr. Esteban Jose Sampietro from Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASA) and Engr. Mariel Silvina Mitidieri from Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) of Argentina.
SENASA is an independent Argentine agency in charge of surveillance, regulation and certification of products of animals and plants. INTA, on the other hand, is an Argentine federal agency responsible in generation, adoption and dissemination of information and technologies for the agriculture, forestry and agro-industrial sectors within an ecologically clean environment.
Consultation meetings with key government and industry officials enabled the team to gather information on pest management initiatives on tomato as well as food safety regulations in the Philippines.
In specific terms, these consultation meetings yielded valuable inputs on the country’s risk assessment and management strategies and how these could be improved following Argentina’s pest management strategies and strong food safety regulation system.
The team visited and met experts from the National Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), Institute of Plant Breeding-University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB), Crop Protection Cluster-UPLB (CPC-UPLB), Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), Bureau of Plant Industry-National Pesticide Analytical Laboratory (BPI-NPAL), and Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU).
|The team also visited Northern Foods Corporation (NFC) tomato plantation in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte to closely monitor the production, pest management, and food safety practices in the said area.|
At the end of the technical mission, the team identified pest and pesticide management as possible areas for collaboration. This include the regulatory framework and integrated crop management strategies on tomatoes.
The visit of the SENASA experts also paved the way for PCAARRD’s initial linkages with INTA and Bioestimulantes Agrícolas y Agronutrientes Naturales (BIAGRO).
In addition to these outputs, the technical mission also looks forward to developing a policy brief, a regulatory framework and traceability model, and an advocacy program for the institutionalisation of the said framework.
As an initial project under the Cooperation, the team proposed the project titled “Integrated Crop Management for Tomato in the Philippines and Argentina.” The project will help improve farmers’ production and farm income as well as ensure food safety on tomato in the Philippines and Argentina. (Sharie Al-Faiha A. Abustan, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service)