LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, May 3 (PIA) -- The Department of Science and Technology Cordillera and the Benguet State University (BSU) launched the Food Innovation Center (FIC) in the Cordillera Administrative Region here last week.
DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Brenda Nazareth-Manzano and DOST-CAR OIC Regional Director Nancy Bantog with BSU President Dr. Feliciano Calora and Agri-based Technology Business Incubator Center Director Dr. Ruth Diego led the ribbon cutting and inauguration of the FIC at the Strawberry Farm lot at KM 6, this town owned by the BSU.
Manzano said that the establishment of the FIC in the Cordillera is a milestone for the improvement and value-adding and the creation of new food products in the region using new technology.
FICs are established in each region of the country to serve as hub for innovations, research and development, and support services for value-adding of fresh produce and development of processed foods.
Manzado bared that the DOST in partnership with the various state college and universities has already established 18 FICs throughout the country with more than 2,000 new food products developed using locally manufactured equipment through the various DOST attached agencies.
The FIC in the Cordillera is in collaboration with the DOST and the BSU to provide the local food industry efficient facilities that would enhance their capabilities and productivity enabling them to improve their value chain activities.
DOSTCAR FIC Focal Person Dr. Pepita Picpican explained that the FIC aims to transform concepts into products and enable product innovation and diversification to maximize value addition to diverse agricultural and fishery resources.
It also standardizes local processing technologies to establish quality standards for new products of the Cordillera region. It will also help design packaging for Cordillera products that retain uniqueness, improve marketability, withstand limitations in transport system and comply with standards and regulations in domestic and export markets.
At the moment, the FIC is processing strawberries and vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, string beans, potatoes and dried sweet potato flour into newly improved products which is seen to have a potential market. The FIC team is still conducting research for other raw crops and vegetables to be developed as new food products.
Calora, meantime, assured the support of BSU as a partner for the development of the region in terms of providing quality research, quality products and quality education. As part of the product development, they would like to introduce more food products focusing on the niche commodities of the region particularly the temperate vegetables.
DOST and BSU are encouraging individuals and organizations including micro, small and medium entrepreneurs and other local food processors to avail of the services of the FIC.
The facility is open to those intending to develop new products, academe and students for the conduct of research and development into product or process development, and other sectors interested to test their product concepts or ideas. It can also serve as a demonstration and instructional facility for education of students and training of industry and government personnel. (ALT/RMC/I. Soriano & J. Garcia-PIA CAR/ SLU Interns)