The DOST-National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) participates in the 16th National Biotechnology Week (NBW) and will hold a virtual webinar entitled “Communicating Basic Research Results to the People: FRESH FARMS Keeping your food fresh and safe" on 25 November 2020, Wednesday, 1:00-3:00 PM via online.

The webinar will feature FRESH FARMS or Food Risk and Safety Analysis in Agricultural Farms towards Improvement of Control Strategies for Food Safety. This is one of NRCP’s research priorities in the Harmonized National R&D Agenda through the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA) – the Food and Nutrition and Security of the SAPAT (Saganang Pagkain Para sa Lahat) Program which focuses on food safety and biodiversity.

The FRESH FARMS program emphasizes food safety as an element of food security in agricultural produce. It assesses the parasite, microbial, and heavy metal contamination in selected agricultural farms in Laguna and Quezon with the aim to improve measures and strategies for food safety. The forum will also share the results of the farming practices, as potential risk factors to be considered, to avoid further contamination of agricultural produce.

Dr. Vachel Gay V. Paller, NRCP member of Division V, Biological Sciences, is the FRESH FARMS Program Leader from Institute of Biological Sciences – University of the Philippines – Los Banos (IBS-UPLB). She will present the overview of FRESH Farms. On the other hand, Mr. Christian Paul P. Dela Cruz, also NRCP member of Division V, Biological Sciences, Science Research Laboratory from Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU), will discuss FRESH Farms: How it will keep your food fresh and safe from heavy metals.

The NBW emphasizes the many contributions of biotechnology in agriculture and food security, equitable health care services, development of industries and business enterprises, sustainable environment, and economic development, among others. By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1414, signed by Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on 9 November 2007, the NBW is being celebrated every third week of November.

This year’s 16th NBW will be conducted from November 23-27, 2020 via online carrying the theme, “BIOTEKNOLOHIYA: PAGBANGON AT PAGASA TUNGO SA MATATAG NA KOMUNIDAD, KAPALIGIRAN, AT EKONOMIYA.” The celebration will highlight the valuable role and potential benefits of biotechnology in sustainable and resilient communities, sustainable environment, and economic growth to adapt to the events and the demand for adaptation under the new normal. As the Filipinos strive to proactively respond to the changing times brought about by different global crises such as COVID-19 pandemic, it is highly appropriate to emphasize the positive impact of biotechnology on the various sectors of the society. (Irish Danielle Hagelladao, DOST-NRCP)