The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched the first ever food processing innovation center in the country last May 15, 2014 at the Philippine Women’s College (PWC) of Davao in Matina, Davao City. The launch formally ushered a more dynamic food industry whose gains will cascade down to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, especially for those based in the region.
The P5.3M facility is a joint undertaking among the DOST, PWC, Department of Trade and Industry, Food Processing Association of Davao, and the local government of Davao City.
According to DOST Region 11 Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, the facility “aims to produce value-added agricultural and fishery food products by becoming the hub for innovations and technical support services for the food processing industry in Davao region.”
Said support services include food testing, information, packaging and labeling design, consultancy services, trainings, and seminars. Through these services, the facility likewise aims to become a springboard for Davao’s food processors to reach local and global standards in processing technology.
“Food processing contributes more than 40 percent of the Philippines’ major manufacturing output,” said DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Carol M. Yorobe during the launching attended by representatives of the partner agencies, stakeholders, and the media. Yorobe added that the establishment of a food processing innovation center in every region of the Philippines is part of DOST’s S&T interventions for the food industry.
Housed within the PWC grounds at the heart of bustling Davao City, the center is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-compliant and boasts of fabricated equipment by DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute as part of the Department’s High-Impact Technology Solutions program. These equipment hasten the production process and improve food and packaging quality in order to enhance product marketability and enable products to withstand transport.
Among these equipment are the vacuum fryer which allows frying of vegetables, root crops, mangoes , and jackfruit without eliminating their color and natural flavor; spray dryer which provides a faster and more efficient drying method and better control of powder quality; and the water retort which offers retortable pouch packaging as a low-cost, environment-friendly, and more convenient alternative. Retort refers to the method of heat sterilization that frees food products from pathogens, making the food shelf stable.
The food processing innovation center is also equipped with a vacuum evaporator for coco honey, tomato paste and condensed milk; freeze dryer for meats, fruits, and vegetables; vacuum packaging machine ideal for foods stored and packed in retortable pouches like cereals, nuts, cured meat, chips, and the like; and the immersion freezer which ensures faster cooling process.
The launch was highlighted by the recitation of the Pledge of Commitment by officials and representatives of the partner agencies. “Effective technology application and deployment are possible with the partnership of government and the academe,” Yorobe stressed.
Davao Region’s pioneering food processing innovation center also serves as a common service facility for food technology students and professors. (S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region XI Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales signs the Pledge of Commitment at the recently opened Food Processing Innovation Center – the first facility of its kind in the country. The signing and recitation of the pledge was one of the highlights during the launching of the facility poised to catapult Davao’s micro, small, and medium-based enterprises into world-class status.
DOST XI Dir. Anthony Sales (rightmost), DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Carol M. Yorobe (2nd from left), and DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute Director Nuna Almanzor (middle) with officials and representatives of partner agencies, such as Philippine Women’s College of Davao, Department of Trade and Industry, Food Processing Association of Davao, and the City Government of Davao share a toast during the blessing and inauguration of the Food Processing Innovation Center on May 15, 2014.