DOST trains entrepreneurs, farmers on product applications

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) trained entrepreneurs and farmers with product applications in order to mobilize surplus of tropical fruits during its seasons and provide value-addition to increase their marketability.

This was done through “Training on Tropical Fruits Processing with Awareness-Seminar on Basic Food Hygiene” held at Gorgeous Farm, Brgy. Niyogan, Laurel, Batangas.

Batangas province is among the top producers of tropical fruits in the country. A study of Rene Rafael Espino and Marco Rafael Espino under the Crop Science Cluster, College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños, reports that tropical fruits contribute considerably to the economy of the country.

According to the research, the leading eight species grown in the country are banana, pineapple, mango, papaya, calamondin, durian, jackfruit and lanzones based on volume of production and these are available all-year round in the market.

Among all these fruits, banana, pineapple and mango are the major export commodities of the country. The Encyclopedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition revealed however that the increased production, the efficient transportation system, and the innovative refrigerated storage have led to increased global consumption of tropical fruits in the recent years.

The big surplus of tropical fruits particularly banana, pineapple, and mango during their season alarms farmers.

Gorgeous farm in Laurel, Batangas is one of the many farms affected once there is a surplus supply of banana, pineapple, and mango plus the continuing decrease of buko’s market price. They promote and practice organic agriculture and tropical fruits occupy a special niche in their farm. To address this problem, a value-addition through product applications is deemed significant.

As the arm for science, technology and innovation, DOST Batangas provided a technology training to the farm that helped paved the way for banana, pineapple, mango and buko products applications. With the help of experts, Dr. Katherine Ann Castillo-Israel and Ms. Claire S. Zubia, from UPLB’s Institute of Food Science and Technology, various technology outputs were taught to farmers and attending entrepreneurs.

Among the technologies taught to the participating farmers and entrepreneurs were mango wine, mango nectar, pineapple jam, banana chips and buko juice. Discussion of the process, standardization, and shelf-life were conducted before every demonstration of product processing. Proper packaging procedures such as bottling including sterilization and labeling were also discussed and demonstrated.

Participants were encouraged to execute the procedures during the demonstration of products processing. Basic Food Hygiene was also discussed to uphold product quality and consistency including products’ health benefits, costing, standard packaging and labeling.

The discussion paved way for a healthy exchange of knowledge from the trainers and participants. Questions from participants about the properties of ingredients used in processing were also addressed.