Considered to be one of the longest partnerships and field activity of DAME, the 32nd Batch of the Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI) Philippine Field Practice was conducted on 10-23 August 2022. The batch consisted of 15 students, two Tokyo NODAI professor-escorts and two Tokyo NODAI teaching assistant-escorts. The program is coordinated by the Department of Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship (DAME), College of Economics and Management (CEM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), with Assistant Professor Arlene C. Gutierrez and Assistant Professor Renen Szilardo C. De Guzman as coordinators. The objective of the field practice is to expose the Tokyo NODAI students to tropical agriculture and visit institutions that support agribusiness development. In addition to these, the group also aimed to determine the experiences of Japanese companies in doing business in the Philippine as well as to look at the differences in food culture between Philippines and Japan.
The activity started with the courtesy call to the UPLB Chancellor followed by a UPLB campus tour and a visit and lecture in the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). They also listened and actively participated in a lecture-discussion on Philippine Agribusiness at DAME delivered by Asst. Prof. Mar B. Cruz, the current chair of the department.
This batch of students had actual farm work in Unigreen Farm, Gourmet Farm and Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI), UPLB. They worked in Unigreen Farm for one day where they prepared and planted different types of ornamental plants. On the second day, the students were also given the chance to interact with the farm owner through a discussion where the students asked questions about farm and marketing, specifically export operations. The group had a two-day visit in Gourmet Farm where they had actual experiences in land preparation using a carabao, sowing seedlings, planting, and harvesting of lettuce and other herbs as well vermicomposting. A lecture-discussion was conducted by the farm manager where the students had the chance to ask questions regarding farm operations. The students were able to experience actual dairy farm operations in DTRI in a half-day hands-on farm practice. The activities ranged from milking the cow, feeding and silage preparation. They were also given the opportunity to observe the milk processing facility of DTRI as well as ask questions regarding the farm and processing operations.
To be exposed to Philippine Food Culture, the Food Management and Administration Division (FMAD), Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, College of Human Ecology (CHE), UPLB was invited to conduct a cooking demonstration and a lecture about Filipino cuisines. Asst. Professor Anna Teresa O. Orillo conducted a lecture on the history of Filipino cuisines as well the most popular Filipino dishes in the country. The lecture was followed by a cooking demonstration conducted by Asst. Prof. Von Ryan M. Ebron, where he cooked chicken adobo and turon.
The group also went to the Fruit Crop Nursery of the Institute of Crop Science (ICrops), College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS), UPLB to gain insights on the kinds of tropical fruits grown in the Philippines and to the Edible Landscaping Garden of UPLB to gain knowledge on different types of crops used for that specific purpose. In addition, the group visited the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST), CAFS, UPLB to learn about the food products and technologies developed in UPLB. They also visited the teaching and research laboratories as well as the food processing facilities.
The group also visited the “Ang Tindahan ng Itlog ni Kuya at Iba Pa” where they were given a chance to observe the duck farm operations and the salted egg processing facility. The farm owner also devoted some time for an open forum, where the students were able to ask about the farm and processing operations. They also visited Villa Escudero where they were introduced to coconuts. A farm demonstration was conducted where the students observed harvesting, gathering, husk removal, and opening of young and mature coconuts. After the demonstration, they had a drink of coconut water straight from the nuts and had a taste of freshly harvested young coconuts.
The Tokyo NODAI students also went to supermarkets, public markets, and sari-sari stores with Los Baños, to observe how fresh produce are marketed in the Philippines. Article by ACGutierrez. Pictures by RSCdeGuzman and Office of the Public Relations.