Emergency Food Reserve facility to open in Aklan

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

April 20, 2022, 7:56 pm

MANILA – The Emergency Food Reserve (EFR) facility in Barangay Cabugao in Ibajay, Aklan will be operational by the third quarter of 2022, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) provincial office said on Wednesday.

The equipment and machinery are currently being fabricated, she said.

"The equipment needed for the EFR, and other components of the project were funded by the DOST for PHP1,454,198. The DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), on the other hand, is in charge of funding and establishing the building," DOST Aklan Provincial Director Dyna Tibubos told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

The executive said 44 members of the Kapatiran Para Sa Progresong Panlipunan, Inc. will benefit from the project.

"The facility will be used for producing EFR. There will be equipment and machinery to process the produce of local farmers and KPP members, to turn these into EFR. This project will be among the livelihood (resources) of the group. The EFR will be sold to LGUs (local government units), DSWD and other agencies and private organizations that aid in disaster relief," Tibubos said.

In a taped report, DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said the project will equip the beneficiaries with the skills and facilities needed for the preparation of food products such as sagip nutri flour (blend of powders made from sweet potato, moringa, squash, mungbean, and cassava), vegetable-rich green and brown choco bars, and vegetable-rich compact baked polvoron.

De la Peña said the DOST inked partnership with the KPP and Aklan State University (ASU) to ensure the full implementation of the project and provide sustainable livelihood to KPP members.

ASU will be the implementing agency of the project, and will provide direct assistance to KPP, especially on the management and marketing aspects. ASU will also manage the fund provided by the DOST, Tibubos said.

Apart from equipment, initial raw materials will also be given to the beneficiaries. "We expect that this will be a self-sustaining project," said Tibubos, adding that the project was funded through the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology for Conflict-Affected Areas (CEST-CAA).

She said Executive Order 70, which seeks to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, has encouraged the DOST to be more aggressive in bringing science and technology to conflict-affected areas.

De la Peña, meanwhile, said that aside from being a livelihood source, the project also aims to eliminate dependence on food rations during disasters. (PNA)