DOST boosts cassava production of Zambo Norte cooperative

March 12, 2015 2:44 am 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, March 11 -– The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has released more than Php400,000 grant to boost the livelihood undertaking of a cooperative engage in cassava production in Zamboanga del Norte.

DOST Regional Director Brenda Nazareth-Manzano said Wednesday the recipient of the financial grant is the People’s Officials, Employees and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (POEMCO) of Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte.

The cooperative has about 160 hectares area planted with cassava and sells their raw products to the San Miguel Foods, Inc. (SMFI), which is then processed into various products especially animal feeds.

Manzano said the Php413,000 financial grant was released through DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

SETUP is a nationwide strategy to encourage and assist Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to adopt technological innovations to improve their operations and thus boost their productivity and competitiveness.

Manzano said the financial grant to POEMCO will be used to purchase cassava processing equipment, such as cassava flour mill, hammer mill, feed mixer and electric bag closer.

With the grant, Manzano said the cooperative is expected to achieve the following: production of standard quality cassava flour; food safety compliant processing facility; improvement of production operations through equipment upgrading; and, productivity improvement of workers through trainings on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and equipment operation and maintenance.

She said the cooperative is also expected to be able to produce at least 60 bags of cassava flour monthly; supply the demand of the six target market outlets; penetrate at least 10 existing bakeries in Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte; and, generate additional employment opportunities in the community.

“It has been observed that cassava flour is now widely used in bakeshops in Zamboanga del Norte instead of wheat flour,” Manzano said.

Cassava is a tuberous edible plant from which cassava chips and flour, breads, a laundry starch, delicacies and even an alcoholic beverage are derived. (PNA)

FFC/TPGJR/SSC

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