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FNRI exhorts local entrepreneurs to adopt commercialization of complementary food and nutrition technologies

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
October 7, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY  –  The Foods and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology called on the local businessmen and would-be entrepreneurs to adopt the FNRI-developed complementary food and nutrition technologies.

Ms. Ma. Susana Encarnacion, FNRI’s senior science research specialist, made the call during the Nutricomnet media interaction held recently at the Philippine Information Agency Regional Office in Eastern Visayas.

By adopting the FNRI developed complementary food and nutrition technologies, the local entrepreneurs will not only ensure profit but also help alleviate the malnutrition problem in the country, Ms. Encarnacion said.

Encarnacion told the local media that FNRI has developed a wide variety of complementary food blends and snack foods called “Bigmo,” which was derived from bigas (rice) and monggo (mung bean).

“We have Bigmo Rice-Mongo Instant Blend and ready-to-cook Rice-Mongo-Sesame Blend for infants 6 to 12 months old. For older children, we have the Bigmo Rice Mongo Curls, a crispy, ready-to-eat snack rich in protein (2.4 g per serving of 20 g) and energy (94 g per serving of 20 g),” she said.

The complementary foods were developed to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition among targeted underweight 6-35 months old children.

The FNRI-DOST intervention program have so far benefited the children in the pilot areas of Tibiao, Barbaza and Tobias-Fornier in Antique; Paluan, Abra de Ilog and Calintaan in Occidental Mindoro; Mahaplag and Pastrana in Leyte; and Estancia, Balasan and San Dionisio in Iloilo.

Encarnacion said that interested entrepreneurs will only have to invest about P5 million for the purchase of several equipment such as imported twin screw extruder that could produce curls of different shapes at a speed of 80 grams (g) per hour, moisture analyser, electric dryer, octagonal mixer, weighing scale, mixer, impulse sealer and auto pack machine.

The capitalization will lessen with the purchase of a cheaper and locally fabricated extruder that costs only P1.5 million. The machine could produce one shape of curls and automatically packs the product in singles.

Encarnacion further said that the monthly production capacity of 250,000 packs of Bigmo curls at 20 grams per pack would require 133,000 kilograms (kg) of rice; 84,000 kg of mung bean; 2,170 kg of flavoring; and 2,170 kg of cooking oil.

The interested entrepreneurs are entitled to FNRI technical support that includes the layout of the production area, hands-on training on the processing technology, technology-transfer document, and basics on good manufacturing practices implementation.

In order to maintain its standards and strict quality control, FNRI has prepared a recommended layout and a process flow for the Bigmo curls processing plant.

To reach optimum nutrition for all Filipinos, FNRI is also developing other baby food combinations such as cowpea-banana, mung bean-camote (sweet potato)-sesame, germinated rice-mung bean, germinated rice-cowpea and other new flavor combinations.

According to the FNRI, under-nutrition remains to be a public health problem among 0-5 year old children. Two in every 10 Filipino children aged 0-5 years are underweight-for-age and three in every 10 are under-height-for-age or stunted.

These foods address concerns on how to feed babies six months old and onward when their nutritional needs are rapidly growing, vulnerable to malnutrition and infection, and irreversible long-term physical and mental damage, Encarnacion said.

The Technology Commercialization and Transfer where food technologies and nutrition technologies are diffused and communicated to relevant users: individuals, communities, institutions and small to large scale entrepreneurs for adoption and commercialization of technologies, is among FNRI’s several frontline technical services to the public.