University of the Philippines Los Baños
Monday, 22 May 2017 09:08

NCPC celebrates 41st year regaining its identity as a separate research unit

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“NCPC is back!” declared Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. during the Advisory Board Meeting of NCPC, or the National Crop Protection Center, on May 19 at the NCPC Conference Room. The said multi-stakeholder meeting is the first for NCPC after more than one decade.

NCPC, which was established in 1976, stopped holding its annual advisory board meeting after it was integrated into the then Crop Protection Cluster of the College of Agriculture (CA) in 2005.

On Dec. 16, 2016, the Board of Regents approved the renaming and restructuring of the five-cluster CA into the nine-unit College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS), regaining for NCPC its identity as a separate research unit of the College.

The board meeting also served as a culminating activity of NCPC’s week-long 41st anniversary celebration that started on May 15.

During the meeting, Chancellor Sanchez underscored the importance of NCPC as a separate research institution in contributing to national development. Likewise, during the opening of the NCPC exhibit on May 15 where he delivered an inspirational message, Chancellor Sanchez articulated the relevance of the Center in today’s agricultural landscape.

“NCPC’s knowledge and expertise shall be needed even more now that we are experiencing the effects of climate change,” Chancellor Sanchez said. “It is important to develop an integrated set of initiatives that shall mainstream climate adaptation in our country’s agricultural system, especially in dealing with vector-born plant pathogens that can cause a wide range of plant diseases that can affect our country’s food production and security.”

Dr. Gil Magsino, officer-in-charge of NCPC, called the re-emergence of NCPC as a “rebirth” of the Center during the meeting. In his presentation to the advisory board composed of representatives from UPLB, the government, the private sector, and the farmers, Dr. Magsino highlighted the research and extension initiatives of NCPC in plant biosecurity, pest management, and public service.

Members of the board also gave their suggestions to further improve the Center’s operations and maximize emerging technologies in information and communication technologies.

Exhibit on crop protection

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An exhibit featuring crop protection technologies at the NCPC lobby kicked-off the anniversary festivities. One of the technologies that were featured is the Rapid Test Kit for Pesticide Residues, a simple set-up that detects the amount of pesticides in various vegetable crops that are bought in the market. It is also an indicator of how much time is needed to process the vegetables to make it ready and safe for consumption.

Another is the set of pest management technologies, which put on the spotlight the use of biological control measures, supplements such as carrageenan technology, and weeds that can repel pests.

A forum for farmers

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On May 16, NCPC hosted a consultation forum to give farmers the chance to present their queries to UPLB’s crop protection experts. More than 40 farmers from Nagcarlan and Alaminos towns in Laguna were able to identify plant diseases and the ways of solving them using the plant specimens that they brought during the forum.

Valeriana Justo, head of NCPC’s Public Service Division, reiterated NCPC’s goal to help farmers, saying that their experts and staff are ready to give their recommendations and assistance to improve farmers’ livelihood.

The forum also covered discussions on marketing of goods for small-scale farmers aside from maintaining healthy crops and managing pests. The panel encouraged the farmers to form an organization and supply their produce to city supermarkets.

The Center also held other activities during the week-long anniversary such as an in-house sports fest and a search for “Mutya ng NCPC” on May 17. The day after, the contest winners were named and recognized together with the Center’s retiring employees.

Among the guests who were present during the activities were Dr. Enrico Supangco, dean of CAFS, and Dr. Fernando F. Sanchez, Sr., retired professor and founding director of NCPC. Dr. Rex Demafelis, vice chancellor for research and extension, and Dr. Romulo Davide, professor emeritus and past director of NCPC, also graced the anniversary. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria, Christopher V. Labe, and Jessa Jael S. Arana)