DOST-CAR supports local food MSMEs through FIC services

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Baguio City – As part of this year’s Science for the People (SFTP) Caravan in the province of Benguet and Baguio City, the Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOSTCAR), through the Provincial S&T Center (PSTC)-Benguet, held livelihood trainings on food processing for start-up micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with the use of the DOST-Food Innovation Center (FIC) technologies and services from May 25 to 28, 2021.

In her keynote message, DOST-CAR Regional Director Nancy Bantog acknowledged the strong partnership between DOST-CAR and MSMEs in advancing food processing in the region, especially to the benefit of local entrepreneurs. “Innovation spells the difference for the food MSMEs to compete in the local and global markets,” she said.

Meanwhile, Provincial S&T Director for Benguet Sheila Marie Singa-Claver encouraged the participants, majority of whom are members of associations/cooperatives in Benguet and Baguio City to take advantage of the FIC to develop new products and remain competitive in the market in as much as the FIC is readily accessible.

The FIC-CAR, which was established in La Trinidad, Benguet in April 2018 in partnership with the Benguet State University (BSU), is a hub for innovation, research and development that provides researchers and local food processors the capacity to enhance foods and delicacies and produce new ones. Among the equipment available in the center are: vacuum fryer, freeze dryer, spray dryer and water retort machine.

DOST-CAR-FIC Project Staff Emmanuel Quiñones and BSU-FIC Researcher Dr. Jao-Jao Somayden discussed during a Techno-Forum on May 25 technical requirements and processes for individuals and firms who may avail of the different FIC services and technologies. Further, Dr. Somayden showcased the freeze-dried fruits and herbs as local alternative flavors for ice cream, based on a recently concluded study funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).

Likewise, MSMEs learned the basic principles and best practices of baking bread and pastry products and making noodles infused with fruits and vegetables (most of which were processed with the use of the FIC equipment) in a three-day (May 26-28) hands-on training lead by Jocelyn Villanueva and Rene Antonio Garcia, both owners of Baguio-based bakeries (Johec’s Cakes and Cupcakes and OMG Sweets Bakery, respectively). DOST-initiated livelihood trainingssuch as these give MSMEs, especially startups the opportunity not only to generate income especially during the pandemic but also to produce nutritious food for the community.

DOST-CAR notes the significance of the annual provincial SFTP Caravan and has employed the hybrid on-site and virtual modality to maximize the involvement of MSMEs in the whole of CAR while bringing science, technology and innovation closer to the grassroots.

By Christian Robert M. Sandoval
Photo by Joseph B. Manzano

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