The Department of Science and Technology Regional Office 1 (DOST-1), in collaboration with DZAG 97.1 FM Radyo Pilipinas Agoo, features the Food Innovation Centers (FIC) in Region 1 during the “Tekno PreSyensya: Syensya ken Teknolohiya Para kadagiti Umili” live broadcast on 15 July 2021.

With the aim to promote the FIC, its products, and services, Dr. Armando Q. Ganal, DOST-1 Regional Director, Ms. Rhoda T. Garcia, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) -FIC coordinator, and Ms. Meryl A. Bernardino, Project Assistant II at Pangasinan State University (PSU) -FIC served as resource persons during the program hosted by Ms. Maricel Fronda and Ms. Antoniet Lingsit of DZAG Radyo Pilipinas Agoo.

According to Director Ganal, the FIC was conceptualized due to the need of Filipinos for sustainable food. He also mentioned that this is one of the programs of the DOST to harness the available raw materials found in the community and increase its value in the market.

Among the services offered by both the MMSU-FIC and PSU-FIC as mentioned by Ms. Garcia and Ms. Bernardino are product development, product innovation, technical assistance to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through food processing, livelihood training, licensing to adoptors, and academic support where students can also have an on-the-job training in the Center and have a first-hand experience on the use of different equipment where they offer it free for the students and the faculty.

Ms. Bernardino also added that through product development and product innovation, the raw materials found in the community can be turned into a better product, increasing its value in the market, and making it easier to market since the FIC also offers packaging and labelling assistance for a better presentation of the product.

With the help of the equipment locally designed by the DOST such as the spray dryer, vacuum fryer, water retort machine, and freeze dryer, the technologies that were innovated and developed in the Center are purple yam powder, numerous vacuum fried products such as squash, red onion, okra, mushroom, and lasona which are then turned into chips. There were also thermally processed prototypes such as ready-to-eat fresh-burong dalag, milkfish in oil, and ready-to-eat paksiw na bangus. Just recently, the PSU-FIC has announced their ongoing research and development activity which is the bagoong powder using the spray drying method.

With all the available services offered, students, local food processors, MSMEs, and adoptors in the region are encouraged to visit either the MMSU-FIC or PSU-FIC and take advantage of the available equipment, machineries, and training opportunities. Ms. Garcia and Ms. Bernardino then advised to schedule their visit to the Center to still maintain the minimum health standard protocol for a safe visit.

For the next episode of the Tekno PreSyensya radio program, let us get to know and learn about the MMSU’s – Tuklas Lunas Development Center which will air on 29 July 2021, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 NN and be excited to win exciting prizes when you join during the trivia time segment of the program. (By Jessa Kate G. Parrocha, Project Assistant II, DOST-1)