BSU, DOST launch Food Innovation Center


By upao - Posted on 27 April 2018

 


Benguet State University (BSU) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) launched the Food Innovation Center (FIC) on April 24, 2018 at the Agribased Technology Incubator/Innovation Center (ATBI/IC).

The ribbon cutting was held with BSU President Feliciano G. Calora and DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano who formally opened the center. An FIC Tour and presentation of FIC food products were held with Ruth C. Diego, ATBI/IC director at the helm of the event. After the tour, a short program ensued.

Dr. Calora in his opening remarks said that the university’s role in the FIC is to capacitate the partners especially other state universities and colleges in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

“It’s high time that the university takes a stronger role in leading the region in terms of research, natural science, and academic programs” expressed Dr. Calora.

Senior Researcher and FIC Focal Person of DOST – CAR Pepita S. Picpican gave the rationale of the program in which she narrated how the FIC program came to be.

The facilities in the FIC include the Vacuum Packaging Machine, which helps seal food products to reduce spoilage and microorganism propagation; the Vacuum Fryer that deep fries food with low pressure to evaporate all moisture; the Water Retort to sterilize food in sealed containers such as metal cans, glass bottles, pouches, and plastics; and the Freeze Dryer, a machine that evaporates the frozen water inside a frozen food product.

According to Picpican, the facilities were delivered from May to December 2017 and another equipment, the Spray Dryer is yet to be deployed in the FIC.

Picpican pointed out that the FIC will also improve value chain activities in which locally available raw materials will be processed at the FIC.

After the rationale, Undersecretary Manzano in her message said that that launching of the FIC is a milestone for the food industry in CAR, adding that it is one of the first regions to have agreed in establishing an FIC. She gave example of regions such as Cagayan, who has a pinakbet snack as a product of the FIC. She also added that in Guimaras, the Roselle flower was processed to a juice-ready product.

“With the FIC, researchers and entrepreneurs can now have a place to go to improve their products,” expressed Manzano.

Manzano pointed out that the FIC is primarily for research and development until it reaches the market stage. However, if an entrepreneur or a product reaches the commercial stage, DOST can help them with the design of the larger scale facilities, the setup, and the technicalities.

In her conclusion, she said that with the efforts of the academe and the government, together they can make the region a “Regional Quality Awardee”.

“We in the government should not just deliver service,we have to deliver quality and excellent service, because our constituents deserve no less,” said Manzano.

Dr. Calora also gave his message inciting that BSU is providing quality education as an advocacy together with quality research and development of quality products. He added that in providing quality research, it is the university’s goal to provide possible solutions to existing problems. In producing quality products, the university is trying to create its own brand.

“Without the quality aspect, there’s nothing that would provide distinction or value added to our clients,” Calora said.

After the message, Dr. Nancy A. Bantog, officer- in-charge of DOST-CAR gave her closing remarks with the challenge to BSU and DOST to sustain the center. She also reflected that the FIC needs food entrepreneurs because they are the lifeblood of the center.

“The food preferences and the emerging demands of the consumers both local and global, will be solved by our food MSEs,” said Bantog.
After the program, a press conference ensued in the afternoon with various media entities.//Mikeen Penchog