A food hub here in the region is all set to provide innovations and technical support services in a bid to strengthen the food industry.

Developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST VI), the Western Visayas Food Innovation Center (FIC), houses one-stop-shops addressing various technology-related concerns of the food processing industry – particularly process and product development and related areas such as technology training and consultancy services, laboratory and testing services, laboratory and testing services, packaging assistance and information services.

DOST VI Regional Director Rowen Gelonga stressed that these package of services cater to emerging micro small and medium enterprises in particular.

“FIC will focus on processed fruits and vegetables, bakery products and native delicacies of the MSMEs in Region VI. It will also produce value added agricultural and fishery food products.”

Equally important, the FIC is a venue for the conduct of research and development intended to produce new products, product variants, process technologies and other innovations. Moreover, the center is equipped with an array of major food processing equipment developed by the DOST – Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) and DOST – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC). These equipment include freeze dryer, spray dryer, vacuum fryer, water retort, vacuum packaging, vertical form-fill-seal, steam jacketed kettle, deep fryer, cabinet dryer and planetary mixer.

At trainer provider level, the food hub offers training programs provided by technical experts from DOST Research and Development Institutes (RDIs) with established competence in the areas of food product development, food safety and quality control, and sensory evaluation among others.

The FIC functions as a multi-agency collaborative undertaking of the DOST VI, other DOST agencies, State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Local Government Units (LGUs), governmental institutions, R&D centers and the private sector. Its project sites are located at Guimaras State College Mosqueda Campus and DOST VI. (DOSTVI-KMU *with reports from FIC)