Davao, a bustling metropolitan city in Mindanao, is a central hub of business activity with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) setting up the Davao Food Processing Innovation Center (FPIC), a facility aimed at helping micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) improve their productivity and market competitiveness.

The FPIC is a DOST initiative that provides technical assistance in product development, food processing, packaging, and labeling; and financial assistance for capital outlay in purchasing modern machineries and for operation.

The modern facility isunder the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP, a development program aimed at strengthening the competitive advantage of local enterprises, increasing productivity, maximizing efficiency and income potential.

“With this food innovation center, we are able to maximize the use of our local raw materials by turning ordinary agricultural crops into high value food products that our MSMEs can now sell in big malls and supermarkets in cities all over the region and even export them to other countries,” said DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo.

The Davao FPIC, inaugurated in 2014, was the first facility of its kind established in the country. It is located inside the Philippine Women’s College campus in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. Inside the facility are state-of-the-art locally developed and fabricated modern food processing equipment like the water retort, vacuum fryer, spray dryer, freeze dryer, vacuum sealer, and others.

The fabrication of modern food processing equipment substantially lowers the cost of production for the MSMEs compared with them buying the machineries abroad. At the same time by adopting the locally made equipment, the MSMEs are assured of readily available parts for maintenance and upgrading.

The creation of the Davao FPIC has already benefitted a number of small business entrepreneurs in the different provinces by giving them a venue to develop unique and highly marketable food products. With the new machineries introduced, production capacity increased and production process streamlined for more efficiency. Likewise, increased economic activity in the areas where the FPICs are located results in increase in employment opportunities in the countryside.

“Our local food manufacturers can now compete head on with other producers around the world because of the improved quality standard of locally made and unique food products and this will translate into improved revenues for the MSMEs and jobs for people in the nearby communities,” stated DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.

For example, the water retort allows processing of agricultural crops like vegetables and fruits into other food variants. Examples here aredurian chips and powdered carrot drink that can be sold at much higher prices. At the same time, this lessens wastage and increases product recovery through safe and tested procedures.

Other food products developed in the FPIC are the following: thermally processed laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut milk), tuna congee in tetra packs, and banana blossom (adobo flavored); spray dried bignay (berries); and vacuum fried mango chips, durian, and banana chips (barbeque and cheese flavor).

Other FPIC-developed food products are: freeze dried durian; carrot-calamansi and carrot-pineapple powder drink using spray dryer; spray dried carrot-calamansi-sweet potato leaves powder drink under the CoolAce brand; gourmet tuyo (dried herring);and spray dried atsuete (annatto).

The Davao FPIC, serving mainlyas a research and development hub, is able to generate new food products thereby giving MSMEs the chance to explore untapped markets for its wide range of choices.

“I am very thankful to the DOST and its Regional Office here in Davao because they are very accommodating from the guard to its staff and specially Director Sales who are now helping us improve our product, Lachi’s special laing, so we can sell them in bottles that will have a longer shelf life. They are assisting us every step of the way as we look forward to acquiring the water retort that will help us get the certifications we need for our products,” said Mateo Ty of Lachi’sDessert Bakery, Inc., a DOST assisted entrepreneur.

Bicolano Dish, Now Davao’s Pride. Mateo Ty of Lachi’s Dessert Bakery Inc. proudly shows off his masterpiece, the Lachi’s Special Laing, a native Bicolano dish of taro leaves cooked in coconut milk now packed in sterilized bottles with longer shelf life. Mr. Ty’s company is being assisted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 11 in its product development and packaging needs using the facilities at the Davao Food Processing Innovation Center at the Philippine Women’s College in Matina, Davao City. (Text & Photo by Rodolfo P. De Guzman/S&T Media Services)

Bignay Juice. The Davao Food Processing Innovation Center of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is a research and development facility that generates unique food products using locally fabricated food processing equipment like the Spray Dryer. This equipment was able to produce the Bignay Juice Powder, a healthy instant drink ideal for all occasions. (Text and Photo by Rodolfo P. de Guzman/S&T Media Service)

Summer Drink from Sweet Potato. The Davao Food Processing Innovation Center of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has developed a unique thirst quenching drink made from calamansi fruit and sweet potato leaves (talbos ng kamote) using the Spray Dryer, a locally fabricated equipment that turns ordinary agricultural crops to high value products. (Text and Photo by Rodolfo P. de Guzman/S&T Media Service)

Vacuum Fried Durian. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara (right) visits the Davao Food Processing Innovation Center of the DOST at the Philippine Women’s College Campus in Matina, Davao City, a facility that assists micro, small and medium enterprises of their needs for product development, technical support and financial assistance. Samples of food products were on display, one of which is the vacuum fried durian that can be eaten as a snack or dessert. (Text and Photo by Rodolfo P. de Guzman/S&T Media Service)


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