University of the Philippines Los Baños
Monday, 12 March 2018 19:17

FAO partners with UPLB-UPLBFI to reduce postharvest losses in mango, tomato

phtrc fao

A new project that aims to contribute to attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was launched on March 1 at the Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center (PHTRC), UPLB.

At the postharvest level, the project seeks to help reduce food loss and waste, which addresses responsible consumption and production, the 12th of the 17 SDGs set by the United Nations.

It is entitled “Capacity development and technical support to generate an evidence base to inform the scale up of postharvest loss reduction of selected horticultural crops, toward achieving SDG 12.3 in the Philippines.”

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has provided US $150,000 to implement the project for one year through a Letter of Agreement with the UPLB Foundation, Inc. (UPLBFI). The PHTRC of the College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) implements the project together with stakeholders involved in postharvest activities of tomato and mango.

Jose Luis Fernandez, FAO representative to the Philippines, and Dr. Rosa Rolle, senior enterprise development officer from the Economic and Social Department of FAO in Rome, Italy, recognized UPLB’s role in addressing postharvest loss problems during the event.

“FAO has been supporting many countries to address postharvest loss reduction. It has had long-standing collaboration with PHTRC in conducting capacity building activities and postharvest loss reduction programs across South and Southeast Asia,” Fernandez said.

Dr. Rolle, on the other hand, acknowledged the importance of tapping PHTRC’s pool of experts in attaining the objectives of the project. “We want to work together to achieve one goal, which is that of reducing postharvest losses in selected supply chains,” she said.

According to Dr. Elda B. Esguerra, director of PHTRC and project leader, the project specifically aims to capacitate the stakeholders in the supply chain on postharvest practices. It also seeks to identify the causes and magnitude of losses and the steps in the value chain where losses occur. The project also aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility and economic viability of identified postharvest interventions to reduce losses in the value chain.

Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., in his welcome remarks, expressed UPLB’s commitment to projects that address food security. “You can trust that UPLB is committed to be part of finding sound and sustainable solutions not only in attaining the SDGs, but also in ensuring that our fellow Filipinos will always have access to healthy and nourishing food,” he said.

Present during the event were two undersecretaries of the Department of Agriculture: Dr. Segfredo R. Serrano, for policy and planning, and Evelyn G. Laviña, for high value crops and rural credit; Dr. Casiano S. Abrigo, Jr., executive director of UPLBFI; Glenn S. Lubuguin, assistant to the vice chancellor for research and extension; and Dr. Jocelyn D. Labios, associate dean of CAFS.

Stakeholders from Laguna, Bulacan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Mindoro, who represented farming, government, and private organizations, were also present during the project launch and in the inception workshop that followed. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)