Every hero has his own story and so is postharvest technology expert Dr. Dionisio Alvindia whose fulfillment is to contribute to enhance agricultural productivity and livelihood of the farmer and consumers .
Born and raised in the province of Nueva Ecija, the famed Rice Granary of the Philippines, Dr. Alvindia was exposed early to the struggles of farmers in producing and maintaining high-quality rice. Due tothe widespread outbreak of the rice tungro virus, one of the most destructive diseases of rice, young Boyet, as he is known to his friends and colleagues, witnessed food shortage and lack of livelihood for his family and locality. The incident sparked his aspiration to contribute to the agricultural industry through science.
He took up Agriculture majoring in Crop Protection at the Central Luzon State University in Nueva Ecija. During his stay in the university, he encountered an interesting study on plant pathology authored by his professor which also influenced him to pursue the sciences further. From 1998–2003 he took up his master’s degree on International Agricultural Development and his doctorate degree on Agricultural Science at Tokyo University of Agriculture, Setagaya-ku, Japan.
Equipped with advanced knowledge on agriculture and competency in research and having shown outstanding scientific productivity, Dr. Alvindia was admitted to the Scientific Career System on June 23, 2010 as Scientist I, making him the first scientist of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) of the Department of Agriculture. His scientist rank was upgraded to Scientist III on November 3, 2014.
One of his most significant works is on the control of banana crown rot, the most important postharvest disease of banana caused by several fungi. Searching for alternatives to agro-chemicals with acceptable level of efficacy is tough,” said Dr. Alvindia. “Technologies in controlling crown rot that are non-chemical approaches need careful experimentation to reach the level of control comparable with agricultural fungicides. The technology should be sustainable, environmental and consumer friendly and these parameters have to be addressed.”
With continuous research, he discovered that the disease can be controlled by a bacterium inherent to bananas. Through the combination of hot water treatment (HWT) and salt application, the growth of pathogens in bananas and the incidence of fruit decay are reduced. It is advantageous that there are no complex equipment or additional investments and manpower needed in doing the application. This technology improves the quality and shelf life of bananas and has helped the farming sector by providing an alternative to chemical pesticide against the banana crown rot disease. Asked about what he learned best from being a scientist, it was “waiting with patience until the good results come,” answered Dr. Alvindia. Through his work, he continuously learns the meaning of patience and perseverance.
He envisions reaching the highest ladder in the scientist rank through significant continuous research works, and is determined to contribute significantly to the agricultural sector. As for aspiring scientists, Dr. Alvindia believes that all they have to do is to be focused, believe in themselves and work very hard.
Currently, Dr. Alvindia publishes research papers, articles, and books in highly recognized international journals and publishing companies. He also serves as technical resource person in local and overseas forums and scientific consultations.