MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) 6 (Western Visayas), has been helping the region’s farmers, fisherfolk, and agribusinesses in improving the packaging of their products, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said.

The partnership aims to enhance the market competitiveness of agriculture and fishery products in Western Visayas, dela Peña said in a taped report aired on Friday.

“(We work on the competitiveness) specifically in aesthetics, longer shelf life, better protection of the products, keeping the buyers informed of nutritional label, and to better compete with imported products,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The DA identifies the beneficiaries, he added.

“The training (being provided) is more for the DA field workers. For the enterprises, it is more on packaging design, material selection, labeling, actual product packaging for test marketing,” dela Peña said, adding that project implementation began in July and is still ongoing.

He said DA-6 provided DOST-6 with a PHP7.5 million funding support last month so it could provide packaging-related assistance, such as label design assistance, to at least 100 beneficiaries.

The funding is also being used to develop a technical manual for agri-fishery product packaging and capacity building of agribusiness enterprises, as well as the DA and local government personnel assisting farmers and fisherfolk, dela Peña said. (PNA)