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The RTK project team receives the Outstanding Extension Team Award during the CAFS Foundation Day celebration at the Seniors’ Social Garden. (Photo by AGaylon)

The Rapid Test Kit (RTK) for Pesticide Residues Project of the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) bagged the CAFS Outstanding Extension Team Award during the 114th CAFS Foundation Day on March 7 at the Seniors’ Social Garden, UPLB.

The award recognized the team’s effort for the effective extension and communication of their technology which raises awareness on the importance of food safety and proper pesticide management.

RTK detects residues of neurotoxic groups of insecticides namely, the organophosphates and carbamates on common vegetables and fruits in just 15 minutes per sample. Furthermore, this can be used for the monitoring of farmers’ compliance and screening of agricultural commodities in the market.

The technology is now being adopted in some municipalities in Region II, CAR, and Region IV-B. This can be attributed to the efforts of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs) which have close linkage with the said project team.

It can be recalled that the former DA secretary William Dar advocated the use of RTK in all DA-RFOs in support to their food safety program. In addition, the RTK is also being used by some researchers and students in their research projects, and by private farms to monitor their produce.

The project team is currently headed by Jasper A. Sarmiento, while its members are John Julius P. Manuben, Dalisay S. Lopez , Teresita C. Narvacan, Dennis A. Famisan, Arlan L. Adorada, and Arra Gaylon.

The awarding ceremony was attended by known dignitaries namely, UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho, Jr., former DA Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian, CAFS Dean Elpidio M. Agbisit, Jr., and the directors of various CAFS units.

(First published at the Aggie Green & Gold newsletter, March 2023 issue)