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The Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center (PHTRC) celebrated its 40th anniversary last October 27 with the theme “Advancing the Horticulture Industry through Postharvest Research and Extension”. The celebration started with a ceremonial tree planting at the entrance ground of PHTRC building graced by Senator Cynthia A. Villar, head of the senate committee on agriculture and food and Ms. Nardia Simpson, representing Australian Embassy in the Philippines.
Part of the celebration was a program held at the PHTRC extension building. During the said event, PHTRC Director Dr. Elda B. Esguerra welcomed the guest and Vice Chancellor Crisanto A. Dorado seconded by giving an opening remarks. Ms. Simpson took part in the celebration by delivering a message. Dr. Esguerra presented the status of postharvest research and extension in the Philippines at the start of the plenary session. Subsequently, Dean Enrico P. Supangco of the College of Agriculture and Food Science introduced Hon. Villar as the keynote speaker followed by an open forum which was moderated by Dr. Ma. Concepcion C. Lizada, former PHTRC Director. Likewise, a panel discussion about capacity building in advancing the horticulture industry followed wherein partners from different organization discussed their roles in PHTRC development. Dr. Ji Gang Kim director of Asia Postharvest Research Center from South Korea and Dr. Rosa S. Rolle Senior, Enterprise Dev’t Officer of FAO gave their views as international partners, while Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, acting Executive director of DOST-PCARRD and Ms. Cynthia Remedios V. de Guia, Assistant Head of Program Development Division of DA-BAR talked about their role as government funding institution for research. An open forum came after which was facilitated by former PHTRC Director Dr. Ofelia K. Bautista.
Another panel discussion was conducted and talked about perspectives of the postharvest horticulture industry in the Philippines followed in the afternoon. Ms. Gilda Caduya President of Altertrade Philippines Inc. lectured about organically grown produce while Mr. Michael Melendres, president of Organic Options Inc talked about vegetables and herbs for green grocers. Concurrently, Mr. Patrick Noel Young of Global Food Solutions discussed about the raw material requirements of horticulture produce for processing whereas Mr. Ramon Manansala, a consolidator for RM fruits international talked about fresh fruits for export. In addition, senior Agriculturist of San Jose City Nueva Ecija, Mr. Wilfredo Alfonso spoked about corporative arrangements in the horticulture value chain. An open forum facilitated by PHTRC Research Coordinator, Dr. Dormita del Carmen followed the discussions. Dr. Jocelyn D. Labios, Associate Dean for Research and Extension of CAFS who supported the event gave the closing remarks to thank everyone for the successful celebration.
To complete the commemoration, an alumni homecoming in the evening which was attended by former staff and students of the center happened. The young generation of PHTRC staff presented a dance number to amuse everyone. Awards of recognition were also given to pillars of PHTRC as well as to the partner cooperators. Recipients of the awards were as follows: Dr. Ernesto B. Pantastico being the founder of PHTRC; Dr. Doroteo B. Mendoza second director and first UPLB graduate in PHTRC; Ms. Gilda Caduya of Altertrade Philippines Inc. and Mr. Ramon Manansala of RM Fruits International both as cooperators. Aside from that, staff who are in active service for 30 years were also recognized. Mr. Angelo Castro and Ms. Leonisa A. Artes took charge of the evening affair by being the masters of ceremony. For the overall celebration of the 40thanniversary, Dr. Matilde V. Maunahan served as the chairman.
The PHTRC was established originally as an ASEAN Center at UPLB where training and research in postharvest horticulture of tropical crops were done. The original ASEAN was consisted of five countries in South East Asia namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand. (Leonisa A. Artes)