Cultivating innovation, technology transfer and IP

Cultivating innovation, technology transfer and IP

On a recent visit to Pola, Oriental Mindoro, I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Modesto A. Landicho, the chair of the Matulatula Agrarian Reform Community Cooperative, or MARCCO. They have recently acquired the technology to effectively eliminate the bitterness of the traditional calamansi juice, leaving only the extract from the pulp. In turn, this technology has greatly improved the sales and ease of labor for the 520 members of the cooperative.

To Mr. Landicho, this was a big win for the small cooperative. While there are still ongoing fixes needed to maximize this technology, he can now focus on other priority areas in farming, as the squeezing process has been cut to merely minutes.

While this was a short visit to the cooperative, I was reminded of how effective intellectual property sharing, paired with the appropriate technology, greatly improves the work of agri-laborers, especially for the MARCCO population more than half of whom are women.

This success story was a result of the Philippines’ long and fruitful partnership with the Korea Intellectual Property Association, or KIPA. Endorsed by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines, or IPOPHL, and assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry Region IV-B, MARCCO was able to receive an IP-sharing incentive from the Korea association.

After a series of knowledge-sharing sessions, MARCCO and KIPA settled on a trademark and patent-sharing agreement for a fruit squeezing apparatus fit for the calamansi citrus fruit, one of Oriental Mindoro’s high-value commercial crops.

However, KIPA’s project did not stop with IP-sharing. The most crucial part of this cooperation lies in the constant knowledge-sharing seminars where both KIPA and MARCCO identify sustainability matters, thus making sure the technology remains tailor-fit to the demands of calamansi production.

While technology transfer is simply a component in the long value chain of agricultural products, it is important to understand how it can affect crop processing that turns raw harvests into marketable products.

Technology transfer is the process by which innovations are disseminated from research institutions and private companies to farmers and the broader agricultural community. This industry practice bridges the gap between cutting-edge research and practical on-the-ground implementation.

The success of this collaborative IP-sharing project truly depended on its sustainability checks that strengthened the project’s approach to appropriate technology.

Appropriate technology refers to innovations that are well-suited to the local conditions and needs of the users. In agriculture, this means developing solutions that are not only effective but also practical for small-scale farmers in diverse environments.

For MARCCO, it was when the cooperation ensured that the existing technology from Korea was fabricated and made usable for the small size of the calamansi.

By globally sharing their research and technology, innovators can strike a balance between protecting their intellectual property and ensuring widespread access to appropriate technology. Ultimately, this example of public and private coordination facilitating technology transfer is a potential framework for our countless agricultural cooperatives nationwide.

Now, MARCCO is soon to be the patent holder for this innovation — an opportunity to manufacture the technology on a larger scale and provide more food manufacturing jobs to the calamansi communities of Pola.

Indeed, the future of agriculture depends on our ability to cultivate innovation while ensuring that no one is left behind in the fields of progress.

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