‘Love to Lab’ wins DOST’s 2018 national ‘Best SETUP Adoptor’ Competition

Dr. Remedios S. Flamiano with her trophies after her Greenlands Agritech Ventures, DOST XII entry, won the national Best SETUP Adoptor Award in the DOST National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on July 17-21, 2018. She also received P150,000 in total cash prize.

Text and photos by Edd K. Usman

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XII’s bet — Greenlands Agritech Ventures (Greenlands) of General Santos City — won on Wednesday (July 18) the national Best SETUP Adoptor Competition.

Aside from honor and prestige, the winner also took the 100,000 cash prize.

SETUP stands for Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, which is being implemented throughout the Philippines by DOST regional offices.

Greenlands already won P30,000 as Best Regional SETUP Adoptor and another P20,000 as one of the five finalists for the national competition.

In this year’s 2018 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) organized by the DOST and its 18 attached agencies on July 17-21 at the World Trade Center (WTC), Pasay City, it was the turn of Mindanao to shine in the SETUP awarding rites led by Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.

DOST XII is headed by Bai Dr. Hadja Shayma Zenaida Hadji Raof Laidan, who celebrated with Greenlands proprietor Dr. Remedios Flamiano and the rest of the DOST XII staff present who attended the NSTW.

“Actually, I am very happy when I learned that the winner is our entry, as the Best SETUP Adoptor, Greenlands Agritech Venture. I am very happy; I was very excited and this will serve as an inspiration to us and our partners in Region XII. This will strengthen our implementation of SETUP; we will strive to convince more adoptors like Greenlands,” Laidan said.

Encourage small enterprises

She added that DOST XII makes it point to determine where best to put in the technology intervention so it will create a spillover effect to the entire value chain and also encourage small enterprises.

“We did not have a second thought in providing assistance to Greenlands such as funds and other technical assistance because we know that banana is a profitable business and it is one of the priority commodities that we want to develop,” said Laidan.

DOST XII, she added, is encouraging Greenlands and other MSMEs to diversity or strive to create value-added products in their ventures. For 2018, Laidan said they have P53 million budget for SETUP, but expects the amount to increase in 2019 to help more MSMEs.

In a separate interview, Flamiano said she “was overwhelmed because I was not expecting to receive this award, considering that there is a lot of very good projects in the country.”

She added: “I really have mixed emotions as of this moment because it is really an overwhelming success.”

Greenlands was established in 2009 as a home-based enterprise, without a laboratory; it operated at first as a plant nursery contracting tissue-cultured meristems from various banana laboratories in Davao City.

Her fledgling company’s lack of laboratory prompted Flamiano to call Greenlands’ journey as being from “Love to Lab,” which meant that for her experiments she got support from her husband who agreed to give up their own master’s bedroom to be used as the laboratory and, then, later on, their entire house. But her passion, commitment, dedication to her craft and, most of all, hard work, brought Flamiano, an educator herself, the success that she said she never expected.

First, the same passion and a deep desire to succeed brought her to the doors of the DOST XII in General Santos City after learning about SETUP, which was designed to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) modernize their operation and production through the adoption of modern technologies.

She recalled that she then went to the office of the DOST XII where Laidan and her staff readily helped her in the assessment of Greenlands needs. She was very thankful to DOST XII for her company’s success.

Customized intervention

“We tailor our intervention to each applicant,” Laidan said in an interview.

To make a long story short, the company received a shot-in-the-arm in the amount of P1,630,000 for 2014-2015 implementation. Greenlands used the DOST XII funding to acquire new equipment that enabled it to better facilitate laboratory needs for their work.

“Tissue culture is the future of agriculture business. Unlike natural seedlings, tissue cultured seedlings are free from diseases and provide uniformity in growth for the farmers, shortens growth period, thereby reducing labor costs and workload,” a Greenlands briefer pointed out.

The company’s objective is to transform into a strong and competitive laboratory providing quality and high-end seedlings to its clientele.

Its DOST XII-funded new equipment included Digital Balance, refrigerator, Laminar Flow, Drying Oven, and Autoclave Machine that pushed the firm’s laboratory production from five times from 20,000 meriplants to 100,000 meriplants a month as well as reducing the mortality rate.

With the cash prize, Flamiano said she will use her winnings to pour more investment into Greenlands.