The P5.3M facility is a joint undertaking among the DOST, PWC, Department of Trade and Industry, Food Processing Association of Davao, and the local government of Davao City.
According to DOST Region 11 Director Dr. Anthony C. Sales, the facility “aims to produce value-added agricultural and fishery food products by becoming the hub for innovations and technical support services for the food processing industry in Davao region.”
Said support services include food testing, information, packaging and labeling design, consultancy services, trainings, and seminars. Through these services, the facility likewise aims to become a springboard for Davao’s food processors to reach local and global standards in processing technology.
“Food processing contributes more than 40 percent of the Philippines’ major manufacturing output,” said DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Carol M. Yorobe during the launching attended by representatives of the partner agencies, stakeholders, and the media. Yorobe added that the establishment of a food processing innovation center in every region of the Philippines is part of DOST’s S&T interventions for the food industry.
Housed within the PWC grounds at the heart of bustling Davao City, the center is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)-compliant and boasts of fabricated equipment by DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute as part of the Department’s High-Impact Technology Solutions program. These equipment hasten the production process and improve food and packaging quality in order to enhance product marketability and enable products to withstand transport.
Among these equipment are the vacuum fryer which allows frying of vegetables, root crops, mangoes , and jackfruit without eliminating their color and natural flavor; spray dryer which provides a faster and more efficient drying method and better control of powder quality; and the water retort which offers retortable pouch packaging as a low-cost, environment-friendly, and more convenient alternative. Retort refers to the method of heat sterilization that frees food products from pathogens, making the food shelf stable.
The food processing innovation center is also equipped with a vacuum evaporator for coco honey, tomato paste and condensed milk; freeze dryer for meats, fruits, and vegetables; vacuum packaging machine ideal for foods stored and packed in retortable pouches like cereals, nuts, cured meat, chips, and the like; and the immersion freezer which ensures faster cooling process.
The launch was highlighted by the recitation of the Pledge of Commitment by officials and representatives of the partner agencies. “Effective technology application and deployment are possible with the partnership of government and the academe,” Yorobe stressed.
Davao Region’s pioneering food processing innovation center also serves as a common service facility for food technology students and professors.