10th ARBS annual meeting highlights reproductive biotechnology innovations

Innovations in biotechnologies that hold great promise in addressing emerging concerns in health, medicine and agriculture were underscored in the 10th Asian Reproductive Biotechnology Society (ARBS) Meeting held August 19 to 25 in Mui Ne, Phat Thiet, Vietnam.


Established in 2004, the ARBS is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote the educational and scientific interests of the reproductive biotechnology research community throughout Asia.


With over 200 scientists and students from 13 countries in attendance, recent advances in different areas of biotechnology, and insights on the status and technological developments in human and animals were discussed during the conference.


The participants were from China, Japan, Czech Republic, North Korea, South Korea, United States, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, India and the United Arab Emirates.


The scientific papers presented focused on advances in assisted-reproductive technology (ART) in human medicine, gene and cell therapy, reproductive health, transgenic animal, cloning research, embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, germ cells growth, and embryo development.


Other papers highlighted related topics on reproductive biomedicine, clinical research advances and genome preservation.


The event also served as an occasion for discussions among scientists, students and practitioners across the Asian Region on collaborative research and business opportunities.


Six delegates from the Philippine Carabao Center conducted paper and poster presentations. Dr. Danilda H. Duran, Dr. Edwin C. Atabay, Dr. Eufrocina P. Atabay, Dr. Lerma C. Ocampo, Dr. Flocerfida P. Aquino, and Excel Rio S. Maylem of the Reproductive Biotech Unit comprised the PCC delegation.


Maylem won eighth place in a field of 63 competitors in the poster presentation category.  Her poster was on “Ensuring the Quality of Bovine Embryos produced In-Vitro through the Inner Cell Mass and Trophectoderm Ratio.”


Maylem’s study determined the allocation of inner cell mass and trophectoderm of bovine embryos in-vitro in relation to its developmental stage and age. It is now used as a benchmark for determining good quality embryos for embryo transfer.


Overall, the conference provided the participants knowledge and insights on alternative technologies in increasing the productivity and profitability of the livestock industry and improving different areas of reproductive biotechnologies, both in human and animals.


The event coincided with the commemoration of the 10th year of ARBS. It was co-organized by the ARBS, Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam, Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, the city’s Center for Biotechnology and Tan Tao University.

2 PCC staff attend 18-day rural development course in Japan

To deepen their knowledge and broaden their understanding and awareness of the dynamics of rural development, two staff members of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) participated in the training program for young leaders under the Rural Development Course of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).


The training was held in Iwate and Akita Prefectures, both in Japan’s main island of Honshu, on July 22 to August 6. Fifteen other staff from different government agencies in the country also took part in the training program.


The two PCC staff trainees were Ericson N. de la Cruz, project evaluation officer, and Kimberly B. Turaja, agricultural technician.


The training program seeks to promote human resource development in developing countries, such as the Philippines. Specifically, it is designed to be part of efforts to prepare young leaders individuals to assume leadership roles in the future.


During the 18-day training, the participants were provided with opportunities to further hone their specialized knowledge and skills through experiential learning technologies, skills development, and resolving issues on their own.


The participants were likewise exposed to various initiatives and challenges in rural development in some parts of Japan and were given opportunities to discuss relevant issues with Japanese rural development experts. Further, the program enabled the participants to understand the policies and support system for rural development, investment and the current situation of agriculture in Japan.


In the course of their training, the participants had a chance to observe the goings-on in certain Japan local agricultural government agencies, agricultural institutions, cooperatives, farmer’s activities, and in sites where there are agricultural facilities.


A two-day home stay with Japanese host families and the formulation of action plans whereby the participants proposed strategies on how systems and techniques of rural development in Japan can be applied in the country were also included in the training program.

Pres. Aquino cites importance of public health and safety vis.a.vis food security

President Aquino has underscored the importance of public health and safety in relation to efforts at achieving food security for the country.

Speaking at the opening of the Livestock Philippines 2013 Expo and Conference on August 7 at the SMX convention center in Pasay City, the Chief Executive stressed that “food security is not just about ensuring stability of supply; it is just as much about public health and safety.”

“Perhaps the burden is even greater today. After all, while modernization allows stakeholders to become even more efficient this also entails higher standards in maintaining the health of animals, the safety of end products and consumers, and the welfare also of the environment. This is precisely what we are doing in the Philippines—improving each step in the process, from beginning to end,” he stressed.

At the same time, President Aquino expressed the hope that the expo would lead to “partnerships that will spur the growth of the Philippine livestock and poultry industry.”

Hosted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), Livestock Philippines 2013 focused on the theme: “Food Security through Feeds Safety: Its Impact on Livestock Production Efficiency.”

Some 200 exhibitors from different countries participated in the three-day event which showcased technologies that are considered key to more efficient animal production. It also featured a number of conferences on different concerns of the livestock sector, such as animal nutrition, health, production and meat.

The DA livestock group, which comprises the BAI, Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), National Dairy Authority (NDA), National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and Livestock Development Council (LDC), also took part in the event.

PCC front liners hone knowledge, skill in extension service in 5-day seminar

Front liners of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) are the contact points of the agency’s main clients, who are the farmers. As such, they are the ones who should change first, as they are the agents and sources of knowledge.

This caveat was underscored during a seminar on providing extension services held at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool in the Science City of Muñoz on July 22-26.

The five-day seminar was attended by 31 participants from the different units and stations of PCC. It sought to upgrade and enhance the professional competence of the participants in extension work specifically aimed at wide diffusion and adoption of carabao-based dairy science and practices by the intended end-users.

The learning activity focused on the theme: “Teaching Someone to Fish rather than Giving Fish.”

Adopted from an old Chinese proverb, the theme highlighted the importance of teaching farmers how to be self-dependent and be able to feed themselves and their families for a lifetime instead of just relying on dole-outs and the like from other entities.

Dr. Roger V. Cuyno, a technical adviser of Enablerlin Inc., served as the main resource speaker. Other discussants were Richard V. Bieles, marketing supervisor of East-West Seed Company; Dr. Daniel L. Aquino, PCC national nutrition coordinator; and Lea dR. Abaoag, supervising science specialist and TMSD head, PhilRice; Anita Antonio, senior science research specialist, PhilRice; Engr. Erick Abon, science research specialist I, PhilRice; Ruben Miranda, information technology officer III, PhilRice; and Roger Barroga, program leader, PhilRice.

Conrado Penuliar, a PCC human resource development staff, acted as facilitator.

As an application of the course content, the participants conducted on the fourth day a “Farmers’ Field Day” wherein they served as facilitators, coordinators and resource speakers. The main activities in the field day were technology demonstrations on “Total Mixed Ration (TMR)” and “Artificial Calf Rearing”.

“In field demonstrations, you must have a complete set-up of technology to be featured (if it’s an equipment), give some hand-outs, be alert, be ready, and know all the technical and other details so you can ably respond to any question,” Abon said.

On the other hand, Antonio stressed:  “To learn it, do it and discover it.”

“We need to retrain ourselves to improve our competency level because we cannot say that you yourself do not understand it,” Cuyno emphasized.