MANILA – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allocated some PHP170 million to construct five units of mobile modular food processing facility (MMFPF) that will be deployed in four regions.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Sunday, DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute's (ITDI) food processing division head, Norbert Ambagan, said each mobile facility will be composed of several modules and will be deployed in areas where there is surplus production.
The regions of Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Zamboanga and Northern Mindanao will each receive one unit of MMFPF.
There will be an MMFPF for frying, drying, retort, spray drying, and aseptic. Ambagan said the latter will be placed in the ITDI office in Bicutan, Taguig. The DOST will still decide which kind of the MMFPF will be placed in the chosen regions.
"An MMFPF will have the basic sections or modules, such as raw materials receiving and preparation, main processing, and packaging. It will also have the auxiliary modules for water supply, power supply, steam and air supply, and personnel room," Ambagan said.
The DOST, he said, eyes the commencement of this project by January 2021.
Farmers will be the main beneficiaries of this project.
The DOST will still look for potential collaborators to operate the facility, according to Ambagan.
"Collaborators can be an LGU (local government unit), a farmers cooperative, and even a state university or college," said DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development executive director, Enrico Paringit, in a separate interview.
"LGUs as recipient operator is possible if their location is suited for mobile processing, and if the LGU is committed to maintain the facility. Finding a suitable LGU partner will be part of the project" Paringit explained.
Paringit added that the DOST is also considering local farmer cooperatives with high volume production, but are dealing with the high cost of transporting their goods.
"If they (farmers) can't move (their products), these will be spoiled," DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña told PNA.
De la Peña also clarified that using the mobile facility will not be free since these need to be sustained.
"The DOST regional offices are now studying who are the potential collaborators," he said. (PNA)