The town of San Jose in the province of Batangas is known as the Egg Basket of the Philippines since it produces over 70,000 metric tons of eggs each year.
Egg production started as a backyard industry way back in the 1960’s but egg farmers recently evolved into becoming agro-industrial entrepreneurs with the help of the younger generation who introduced the “veterans” to innovative agricultural practices.
In 2009, the people of San Jose were challenged because of the oversupply of eggs in their town that were produced by an estimate of seven million chickens. Fortunately, with the help of the Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative or BEPCO, the egg farmers were able to develop different products from eggs such as liquid egg and frozen egg.
However, in 2017, there were reported cases of Bird Flu infestation that greatly affected the livelihood of most of the resident-farmers in San Jose.
“Milyon-milyong itlog ang natambak sa aming bayan. Kaya napaisip kami kung anong maaaaring gawin sa mga surplus na itlog para mapakinabangan pa ang mga ito,” said Cecille Virtucio, BEPCO Managing Director.
This paved the way for the collaboration between BEPCO and the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman when they submitted their research proposal to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy or CRADLE program.
Dr. Patricia V. Azanza, the project leader of the said study and professor at the College of Home Economics in UP Diliman, shared that their goal in this project was to make powder or granules from low-edible shell eggs or that of low-quality.
“Pinag-aralan namin ang kalidad ng mga bulok na itlog o soft-shell egg, maruming itlog o dirty egg, at basag na itlog o checked egg kung alin sa kanila ang maaaring idebelop na pulbos at granule. Bakit natin ninanais na gawing granule at powder ang mga low-value na itlog? Sapagkat mahaba ang shelf life nito kaya matagal itong mapapakinabangan ng industriya at nakadagdag pa rito na sanay na silang gamitin ito,” explained Dr. Azanza.
According to the study, they found that dirty eggs can be the most ideal and suitable to be developed as granule and powder. BEPCO members had to be taught on how to properly wash and use the eggs so that the product they will sell in the market still has quality and is safe to use.
Said collaboration resulted in the development of Egg White Powder which is ideal for baking cakes and bread. It can also be used in making mayonnaise and meringue.
“Ang aming proyekto sa ilalim ng CRADLE ay nagbigay sa amin ng pagkakataon upang makapagbigay kami (UP Diliman) ng prototype na pulbos sa BEPCO. Matapos nila itong ma-evaluate ay naipamigay na ito sa indutriya sa loob lamang ng tatlong buwan,” said Dr. Azanza.
Dr. Azanza added that they will be transferring the developed technologies in bulk to BEPCO once they have adjusted the design of their teaching aide suitable for virtual procedures. Incidentally, the machines developed at the DOST Food Innovation Center in UP Diliman were ones used for the project.
“Napakarami naming natutunan mula sa proyektong ito, bukod sa paggawa ng egg white powder, sa tulong ng DOST at UP Diliman, naging instrumento kaming mga nasa kooperatiba sa pagtugon sa mga pangangailangan ng ating mga egg farmers dito sa aming bayan (San Jose, Batangas) at pagbibigay ng pangmatagalang solusyon sa mga problemang maaaring makaapekto sa kanilang kabuhayan,” said Virtucio.