LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte (PIA) – Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Prospero De Vera III leads the launching of the Indigenous Food Research Consortium (IFRC) at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) on Jan. 19.
A ceremonial signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was conducted with Secretary De Vera, MMSU President Dr. Shirley Agrupis, Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC) President Gilbert Arce, Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) President Jaime I. Manuel Jr, and BauerTek Founder and President Richard Nixon Gomez. Dr. Anil Anal, professor of Food Engineering and Bioprocess Technology of the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand joined in the MOA signing virtually.
With P289 million fund from CHED, the said research program aims to intensify the development and promotion of indigenous food plants in Ilocos region.
According to MMSU President Dr. Shirley Agrupis, the consortium also seeks to maximize the development of probiotics from the indigenous plants, in collaboration with BauerTek and AIT.
“This research program will offer an innovative approach for the formulation and development of probiotic product such as beverages, probiotic food, and pharmaceutical formulations from local plant resources in a holistic food system,” said Agrupis.
The component projects include development of probiotics from indigenous root crops, duhat, wax gourd, garlic and bamboo shoot, and nipa sap in Ilocos Norte through MMSU. For Ilocos Sur, development of probiotics from yacon, tebbeg, and allagat through ISPSC, while for La Union, development of probiotics from roselle, mulberry, and corn in DMMMSU.
Apart from strengthening the science, technology, and innovation capacity for probiotic food systems of the state universities, the research program is also expected to support and train other research institutions and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on incubating and commercializing probiotic products.
“We are grateful to CHED for investing in research and development toward food security, sustainable agriculture, good health and nutrition, and economic development in line with the Agenda of Prosperity of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr,” added Agrupis. (JCR/MJTAB PIA Ilocos Norte)