GRANT. Members of the Kabulig Farmers Association in Santol town, La Union pose with the electric dehydrator from the Department of Science and Technology Ilocos regional office. The equipment is expected to boost their production by 20 percent. (Photo courtesy of DOST Ilocos Region)

SANTOL, La Union – The Department of Science and Technology Ilocos regional office (DOST-1)  awarded two electric dehydrators worth PHP43,700 to a farmers’ association in this town.
In a phone interview on Thursday, Provincial Science and Technology Center- La Union (PSTC-LU) director Jonathan Viernes said the equipment was granted to the Kabulig Farmers Association under the Community Empowerment Thru Science and Technology (CEST) Program for free.
“We hope to increase their productivity by 20 percent with the equipment,” he said.
Kabulig Farmers Association head Ralyn Zambrona said the dehydrators will be a “big help” to their association.
“The DOST-1 had not only provided us equipment but also the training needed in processing ube since we have members who are farmers in our barangay (Lettac Sur) and have plenty of root crops,” she said.
The association employs manual air-drying for their products and takes them five to 10 minutes for every five kilos of ube.
“We are expecting that the equipment will decrease the time in drying the ube so more chips will be made in a day,” Zambrona added.
The DOST has also trained them in wine processing and halaya making.
Zambrona said they are selling their products to the local government units and other national government agencies or in trade fairs, and for other customers who order from them.
KFA members also participated in the seminar on Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) to certify their cGMP requirements, and to improve their production processes in general. (PNA)