DOST Highlights Agriculture and Food Technologies

An event with the initiative of reaching out to the market and catering the public new products from agricultural commodities.

by Julio P. Yap, Jr.

After the success of the Luzon and Visayas legs of the event, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently held the third and final edition of 2016’s Technology Transfer Day at the Convention Center, SM Lanang, Davao City.

These products were produced with food processing equipment from the DOST’s FICs; Many of these were produced using agricultural commodities. Some have yet to reach the market. The DOST believes Filipinos have the products to make the country food secure.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña attended the much-awaited tech-transfer activity in Davao. He said the Mindanao-wide activity aims to promote the DOST generated and assisted technologies to their intended beneficiaries and stakeholders, and the private sector.

PRODUCTS OF RESEARCH DOST – Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said the technologies presented were the products of the research and development conducted over the last three years.

The event featured different technologies available for adoption. “We are selling technologies, not products,” Guevara clarified.

Participants and visitors were awed by new products and those that are now poised to reach the market in certain areas. Most of these products were produced from agricultural commodities.

The sample area also featured crispy and nutritious vacuum fried fruits and vegetables, among others. These products were produced using food processing equipment from the DOST’s Food Innovation Centers or FICs. Guevara said that they has already demonstrated the same in Manila and Ormoc City, and they were delighted by the deals, “fairness opinion reports,” and licensing that took place onsite.

The technologies that were featured included those for the agriculture, food industry, health, environment and disaster risk reduction, crafts and textiles, and the ICT sectors.

The Technology Transfer Day held in Davao City was organized by the Region 11 office of the DOST in collaboration with Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), Science and Technology Information Institute (STII), MindaDOST, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Inc. (DCCCII), and the Mindanao Business Council (MinBC).

FILIPINO INNOVATIONS – TAPI director Edgar I. Garcia said the event showcased Filipino innovations that aim to initiate partnerships among technology generators, research institutions, investors and stakeholders. He added that through the event, many opportunities were opened to Mindanao enterprises and organizations to invest in local technologies for licensing and adoption in the same areas, such as agricultural productivity, industry competitiveness, environment and disaster risk reduction management, and quality healthcare.

The Mindanao Technology Transfer Day also promoted a synergy of ideas and experiences from participants, innovators, and exhibitors on how these local technologies can move the Philippine economy forward as entrepreneurs benefit from locally available equipment and products which are competitive enough to generate income.

It was learned that during the Technology Transfer Day events in Manila and Ormoc City, several inquiries were received, resulting in numerous licensing agreements. “With our newly reinvigorated business climate and economy, the government will not be complacent and will ensure that progress will be sustained and strengthened by a thriving local economy anchored on science, technology and innovation,” Garcia pointed out.

Through the event, TAPI is looking forward to helping more enterprises and organizations in transfering and adopting Filipino innovations for the interest and benefit of the general public, guided by Republic Act 10055, or the Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009.

The commercialization of food products poses the biggest challenge, Guevara says. “I believe that we have the products to make the Philippines food secure. Making these available, affordable, and accessible will only happen if we have the FICs.”

WHAT ARE FICs? – Food Innovation Centers were developed in 2015 to house five DOST-developed technologies: the vacuum packaging machine, water retort, vacuum fryer, spray dryer, and freeze dryer.

The spray dryer transforms liquids into powder instantly; the freeze dryer produces dried materials while prolonging shelf life and enabling a more convenient way of transporting these materials. The water retort machine improves the shelf life of food products, even those stored in non-refrigerated conditions, and the vacuum fryer creates crunchy products that are low in fat and high in fiber with minimal changes in color and flavor.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s March 2017 issue.

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