|Seated, left-right: University Researcher Marilou Montiflor, Assoc. Prof. Vladimer Kobayashi, and Assoc. Prof. Jackie Lou Tagubase, with the project staff|
|Adjunct Professor Luis Antonio Hualda|
A US foundation awarded an UPSTREAM/ UP Mindanao team with seed funding to develop a predictive model for identifying neglected but micronutrient-rich crops. The team, led by UP Strategic Research and Management (UPSTREAM) Foundation Trustee and School of Management (SOM)-University of the Philippines Mindanao (UP Mindanao) Adjunct Faculty Luis Antonio Hualda with social scientist Marilou Montiflor (SOM), data scientist Vladimer Kobayashi and food technologist Jackie Lou Tagubase (College of Science and Mathematics), was awarded with a seed funding from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to develop a multi-criteria adoptability index for identifying and prioritizing micronutrient rich neglected and underutilized species of crops (NUS). FFAR is an independent non-profit firm funded by the US Federal Government and established by the 2014 Farm Bill of the United States.
The seed fund, amounting to US$75,650, has matching in-kind funds and support from UP Strategic Research and Management (UPSTREAM) Foundation, a partner and conduit fund manager of UP Mindanao. Mr. Hualda’s team is among the three awardees of FFAR’s Harvest for Health’s Breakthrough Crop Challenge. The purpose of the Breakthrough Crop Challenge is to develop a predictive model to determine crop potential as a source of functional ingredients. This is a global competition with a prize of US1M.
The objective of the predictive model is to select neglected and underutilized crops with high nutrient density and have a greater tendency for adoption among consumers and producers. Identifying these crops is a step towards building a common goal among stakeholders in transforming the agri-food systems into nutrition-sensitive, resilient, sustainable, and promoting food justice and food diversity. Apart from the predictive model, the UPSTREAM/UP Mindanao team will compile an open database of neglected and underutilized crops as well as an interactive platform to help decision-makers in selecting which NUS to prioritize.
To know more about the project, the rest of the team (AgriFood Systems Laboratory), and collaboration opportunities, visit https://upmin-agrianalyticslab.up.edu.ph/.