Many indigenous products in Antique province need improvement, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro has learned from Antique Vice Governor Rhodora Cadiao in a recent meeting.
Antique’s resurgent muscovado industry for example needs to improve in terms of quality to meet international requirements. Many local muscovado processors find it difficult to penetrate foreign markets because of quality issues, Cadiao explained during Alabastro’s courtesy call at the University of Antique May 14.
“We exported muscovado in Japan, but when it got there, it became moist,” she disclosed. Japan has a huge and growing demand for healthy food products including muscovado because of rising health consciousness especially among its rapidly ageing population.
DOST Region VI Director Rowen Gelonga assured that the regional office supports Antique’s development program despite its modest resources. He pointed out that Antique received the biggest grant-in-aid from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for muscovado projects.
He also explained that the inconsistent moisture level in muscovado products could have been a result of flawed packaging.
Industrial Technology Development Institute Director Nuna Almanzor added that it could also be a result of improper handling or product sealing.
Meanwhile, Alabastro also urged DOST Region VI officials during a brief meeting to step up assistance and effort to encourage and draw more scholarship applicants from the poorest municipalities in Western Visayas.