February 27, 2004 (STAR) We take time out to acknowledge those who have been writing and calling this corner about the research breakthroughs that we have been writing about.

We are elated that R&D NOTES has been benefiting various sectors – industry, the academe, the research community, the farming/fisheries/forestry sector, and the general public. Rest assured that we have been referring your queries to research institutions that could best answer your detailed information needs.

Last Jan. 12,a for instance, were at the Benguet State University (BSU) in La Trinidad, Benguet, as guest of BSU headed by President Rogelio Coting, on the occasion of its 18th Charter Day and 88th foundation day when we received a call from our office secretary Angie Alca.

It concerned an inquiry about our report on a mechanical ginger processor developed by the Bicol Univeristy College of Agriculture and Forestry. We referred the called, Tri-Tea Food Products in Quezon City, producer of a ginger-based beverage now in the market, to contact BUCAF through the Los Baños-based DOST-PCARRD. Tri-Tea did, as it told us when we called it up later after coming from Benguet.

One time, too, we received a telephone call from someone from Camarines Sur. The caller was interested in the technology on bamboo tile maker developed by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). We thus referred him to MMSU in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Recently, at the other end of the line was MMSU president Dr. Saturnino Ocampo Jr. (at times mistaken as a son of our friend rebel-turned-congressman, Rep. Satur Ocampo). He expressed interest in the "snap hydroponics" we had written about. For more details of the technology, we asked Dr. Ocampo to get in touch with UP Los Baños Institure of Plant Breeding.

One time, we got a pat on the back for our piece on tomatoes developed by UPLB-IPB, which were named after four sexy movie stars – Ara, Rosanna, Assunta, and Rica. The R&D breakthroughs were among the items asked in a popular television game show.

Another R&D headway that merited us a letter was the sweet potato harvester designed by the Leyte State University (LSU) in Baybay, Leyte.

But one piece that generated excitement was the prospect of the Philippines developing its own chocolate industry because Criollo cacao, whose bean is a good ingredient of chocolate, thrives in the country. Spearheading the research is the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, North Cotabato, which we visited last year.

Our report has reportedly excited the interest of Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr., who is looking forward to a distinctly Filipino chocolate industry.

Lack of space does not allow us to mention all the feedback we have been receiving. But suffice it to say that we are glad that R&D NOTES is serving the purpose for which it was intended. Many thanks to you, dear readers. – Rudy A. Fernandez

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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