By Rizalina K. Araral (DOST-FPRDI, S&T Service)

The country’s furniture, pulp and paper, and plywood industries have found a partner in their bid to make it in the world market: the FTL or FPRDI Testing Laboratories of the Department of Science and Technology’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI).

Certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) through the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB), the three laboratories (one each for furniture, pulp and paper, and plywood) conducted 1,394 tests for 515 customers last year, and earned an income of about P4.07 million.

According to the FTLs’ quality manager Adela S. Torres, “Having their products tested by an ISO-certified lab ensures ourclients that they get consistently valid results, and gives them the credibility they need to access new markets overseas, maintain their presence in old markets, and meet the demands of certain government agencies.”

Customers who had their products assessed by an ISO-certified lab no longer need to have them re-tested since the standards used by these facilities are globally recognized. This saves time and money for exporters.

“One of the FTLs’ long-time clients is the government’s Department of Budget and Management’s Procurement Service (DBM-PS),” relates Torres. “The service requires all its suppliers to submit samples of their paper products to DOST-FPRDI. Only those companies that pass the tests will qualify for public bidding. This centralized and direct purchase by the PS saves the government about 30% in the cost of its paper supplies.”

For furniture products, on the other hand, only firms which meet the FTL’s evaluation can take part in the public bidding process of the Department of Education.

The FTLs are run under the DOST’s OneLab project, a platform which gives broader and more efficient public access to all of the Department’s testing services. DOSTFPRDI also offers wood identification, chemical, physical and mechanical, and bioenergy testing services for forest-based and related products, and is currently working for the eventual ISO-accreditation of these.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2018 issue.