Tuesday, June 08, 2010

DTI grooms MS Tubongbanua for BFAD certification

By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

2010 is level-up year for the mango processing technology of Rebecca Tubongbanua, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC).

And to prepare the farmer scientist for certification by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD)—as requirement for export and bigger business expansion—the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Guimaras evaluated Tubongbanua’s mango processing technology and her new processing site on June 02, 2010 in barangay San Isidro, Buenavista, Guimaras.

The farmer scientist of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Guimaras, Tubongbanua’s mango processing technology underwent a detailed evaluation by the DTI team composed of Caryl Noquez, trade and industry development analyst (TIDA); Johanna Jamero, an alumna of UP Visayas School of Technology; and Ares Balcarse, a computer science major specializing on physical plants and layouts. The last two members were tapped by DTI Guimaras to undertake the BFAD preparations of the WESVARRDEC farmer scientist.

The DTI team helped Tubongbanua identify the stages in the process flow, and lay out the nitty-gritty procedures involving her mango processing technologies involved in producing dried mangoes, mango sauce, mango ketchup and mango concentrate.

The DTI team (from left to right: Caryl Noquez, Ares Balcarse and Johanna Jamero) pooled their expertise to assist MS Rebecca Tubongbanua (fourth from left, shown with her personnel) in documenting her McNester Food Products at her new site in barangay San Isidro, Buenavista, Guimaras.

Johanna Jamero helped Tubongbanua document the basic information on the manufacturing procedures needed to produce her McNester Food Products and the sanitation standard operation procedures (SSOP) in her processing site. Jamero also assisted Tubongbanua in identifying critical control points in the procedures—from the receiving of raw materials to processing to packaging and labelling and marketing of her products.

After conducting one-to-one consultation with Tubongbanua, Jamero declared that Tubongbanua has been observing quality control points which have helped her produce safe and quality food products all these years. Jamero added that the farmer scientist is prepared to undertake further improvements. MS Tubongbanua herself said there are more things to consider and accomplish, adding that she never expected much has to be done as the business already expanded from the backyard processing.

According to Ma. Carmen I. Iturralde, officer-in-charge of DTI Guimaras, DTI is willing to help MS Tubongbanua for “as long as she needs the agency.”

Situated on a 9,800-sq.m. lot in barangay San Isidro, the new McNester Food Products complex is a sprawling production site with much promise. According to Ares Balcarse, who evaluated its physical layout, MS Tubongbanua needs to comply with standards on structural layout of food processing business as per BFAD’s requirements. For instance, Balcarse’s recommendations included that MS Tubongbanua provide for more storage areas needed in her manufacturing procedures.

The DTI team also furnished Tubongbanua the lists of general and specific requirements needed in applying for BFAD certification.

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