The Science for Change Program (S4CP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) continues to demonstrate how its projects are creating impact to the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources (AANR) sector. This is being achieved through the 19 Research and Development (R&D) Centers or Niche Centers in the Regions (NICER) located in 14 regions of the Philippines.
NICER equips higher education institutions with knowledge and equipment to be able to conduct commodity-focused and collaborative research and promote regional growth in all 14 regions of the country.
S4CP further highlights its relevance in improving the sector following being the winner of the 2022 United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA). The award was announced during the UN Public Service Day, wherein UN recognized the contribution of the said program in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the AANR sector, UN’s SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger), 14 (Life below water), and 15 (Life on Land) are being addressed by the 19 R&D Centers. The R&D centers or NICERs that address Zero Hunger are focused on potato, sweetpotato, pili, citrus, halal goat, native pig, native chicken, garlic and other condiments, queen pineapple, cacao, and tamarind. Meanwhile, R&D centers that address Life below Water focus on seaweeds, mollusk, crustaceans, sea cucumber, and freshwater fisheries. Finally, the R&D centers that address Life on Land are focused on biodiversity, caves, bamboo, and industrial tree plantation.
DOST and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) have been on top of the establishment and funding, facilitation, and monitoring and evaluation of the R&D centers and their programs.
“For the past 6 years, DOST-PCAARRD has been strengthening its collaboration with the local and international partners to advance its programs on management and utilization of the results of R&D in the AANR sector,” said Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, DOST-PCAARRD Executive Director. “In the case of NICERs, we are further strengthening our partnerships with R&D institutions across the country and in turn improving the industry of the particular commodities being developed.”
In the recently concluded 11th Anniversary Celebration of DOST-PCAARRD, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña recognized the efforts of the Council in the establishments of NICERs. “The establishment of the agri-aqua NICERs and the early returns in our investment in these R&D centers were made possible by the investments of DOST-PCAARRD in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and higher education institutions (HEIs) all over the country,” Secretary de la Peña said. (Rose Anne M. Aya, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services).