Thursday, January 11, 2018

Russian Technical Assistance to Help PH Agri

Current PNRI Irradiation Facility

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST)  will get technical assistance from Russia with regards to increasing the number of irradiation facilities for agricultural use.

The assistance will come from the Russian government that will add more electronic beam facilities for use by fruit and vegetable exporters. This was disclosed by DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña.

This will considerably increase the capacity of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) in handling the irradiation of agricultural products for export.

“We are short of capacity in terms of irradiating products particularly those for export. Today, we have to irradiate potato, mango… because this is a requirement of importing countries. We only have one facility in QC, in the PNRI compound. It’s running 24/7, and still cannot cope,” Dela Peña said. “So there is an urgent need to set up more facilities.”

Increased demand for Philippine vegetable and fruit exports has resulted in the demand of the irradiation facility that will improve shelf life and disinfect the fruits and vegetables to be exported.

Currently, there is only one facility of the PNRI that conducts such process and there is a backlog even though it is already operating at full capacity 24 hours and 7 days a week.

This will be undertaken via a local firm, A Brown Co. Inc. (ABCI), that has partnered with Rusatom Healthcare, a division of Russian State Atomic Energy Corp. Rosatom, to build a network of agro irradiation centers in the Philippines starting this 2018 to help improve the country’s agribusiness sector and its capacity.

Irradiation or electronic beams for agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables eliminate bacteria and germs, prevent the spread of pests, and delay or prevent ripening or spoiling during transit and storage. The process reduces the risk of food-borne illnesses and increases longevity and shelf life. The process does not make the produce radioactive and is considered safe.

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The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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