The Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) in collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) organized a virtual technology forum last July 10 to introduce food technologies developed by latter aimed at helping micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the MIMAROPA Region level up.
With COVID-19 putting more people at risk through disrupted health and nutrition services, job displacement, and income losses, DOST-MIMAROPA and DOST-FNRI joined hands and reiterated their desire to help MSMEs with valuable technologies in terms of improving access to healthy food and economic opportunities.
Different DOST FNRI-developed technologies that are ready for adoption and commercialization were presented to a total of 29 MSMEs from MIMAROPA, mostly from the food processing sector and local government units.
A number of technologies were presented that include the following: fortified foods or foods enriched with additional nutrients like iron such as Iron Rice Premix, Iron Fortified Rice, and Iodine-Rich Drinking Water (Tubig Talino); Stabilized Brown Rice; Emergency foods for disasters and calamities like Brown Rice Bar; Ethnic Foods; and Squash Supplemented products.
More technologies on nutritional food were also introduced like the Complementary Foods or any food or liquid other than breast milk or formula milk ideal for infants or children to provide them with the needed nutrients. Showcased were the different variants, namely: Rice-Mongo Blend, Rice-Mongo Sesame Blend, Rice-Mongo Crunchies, Rice-Mongo Curls, Ready-to-Eat Complementary Food (Paste) for Infants and Young Children (MOMSIE), and Micronutrient Growth Mix 6(MGM 6).
Other newly developed technologies that MSMEs can engage in included Extruded food, Frozen food, Ready-to-Fry Sweet Potato Fries, Rice-Mongo Curls and Baby Food Blend with Carrots, Micronutrient Growth Mix 9 & 15 (MGM 9 & 15), Sweet Sorghum Flour, and Multi-nutrient Extruded Rice Kernels (MNERK).
During the virtual forum, the DOST-FNRI also discussed the technical aspects of adoption and commercialization of the said technologies including the R&D cost, equipment cost, proposed selling price, and licensing fee.
An enhanced and more nutritious version of the Nutribun, popular in the 1970s, was developed by DOST-FNRI and is now called the E-Nutribun, was also showcased during the technology forum. The vitamin-enriched bread is said to be reformulated to be softer packed with micronutrients mostly from squash. It was developed primarily for use during feeding programs organized by the government and in providing enough and nutritious food for families facing hunger especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the positive business prospect for the E-Nutribun, eight MSMEs readily showed interest in adopting the technology and were invited to the soft launching of the product held last 29 July 2020. Following the soft launch, three MSMEs from Marinduque and Romblon immediately submitted their letter of intent, which is the first step towards the adoption of the technology.
Other food technologies that sparked interest from other MSMEs included the following: MGM 6, Brown Rice Fruity Bar, Tubig Talino, Rice Mongo Curls, Iron Fortified Rice, Pancit Canton Squash, and Stabilized Brown Rice.
On the other hand, DOST-MIMAROPA, as the Fairness Opinion Board (FOB) Secretariat, is currently coordinating with the MSMEs who are interested in licensing Tubig-Talino and Stablilized Brown Rice to meet the technology generators and discuss the specific requirements for the licensing of the said technologies.
The FOB is composed of experts tasked to assess whether a proposed technology transfer transaction between a Government Funding Agency/Research Development Institute (RDI) and a technology licensee/business is fair to the government by issuing a Fairness Opinion Report (FOR).