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Six food manufacturing firms in Batangas and Cavite acquired various equipment and plant facilities through a financial assistance worth PhP3.47M from DOST CALABARZON Region under the Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

In Balayan, Batangas, Ernie Espiritu Food Products, producer of "Bagoong Balayan", acquired production equipment and packaging materials through a financial assistance of PhP0.84M. DOST CALABARZON, through its Provincial S&T Center (PSTC), facilitated acquisition of the equipment, as well as, provided assistance in conduct of analysis of nutritional facts and design of packaging label for the firm. Last year, the firm generated a 38 percent increase in sales and 20 percent increase in production capacity. It also received its Certificate of Ownership in November 2009. New plans for this year include acquisition of an automated in-line filling machine.

Meanwhile, in Lobo, PSTC-Batangas assisted Evarista Ronquillo, plant manager of Big-A Multi Purpose Cooperative, in acquiring new machine and packaging materials worth PhP0.50M for the production of tamarind candies and wine. Together with the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry, PSTC-Batangas conducted trainings on enhancement of wine and candy production and food safety. A consultancy firm provided by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI) under the MPEX (Manufacturing Productivity Extension) Program also provided Big-A advice on how to maximize its production capacity, as well as, improve its production quality and enhance its plant layout. In 2009, the cooperative generated gross sales of PhP0.66M. Sales of tamarind wine are expected to increase this year once the plant is fully-operational.

Four firms in Cavite, on the other hand, have completely turned around their production capacity after use of new equipment acquired from DOST CALABARZON under SETUP.

In Ligtong, Rosario, PSTC-Cavite facilitated provision of PhP0.52M to Merceditas C. Perea of MCP Fish Processing Enterprise. In 2009, the enterprise produced 22 tons of processed smoked fish valued at PhP5.4M. The products are now sold using new packaging and labeling. Further improvement works were done also at the production site to comply with international food safety standards such as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP).

Also in Ligtong, Carmelita Barrera of CARMS Food Enterprises received financial assistance worth PhP0.47M from DOST CALABARZON. This enabled the firm to increase annual production to 47.5 tons valued at PhP5.5M. It was also able to keep volume of rejects at 10 percent. To accommodate the new production volume, a new production site is being constructed. With the new equipment, the firm hopes furthermore to be 100 percent GMP and HACCP compliant, as well as, to increase this year's volume of production by an additional 26 tons/month valued at more than PhP2M.

In Taywanak Ibaba, Alfonso, Marilu S. Villacorte of V-SUN Food Products acquired modern equipment worth PhP0.58M through SETUP. With financial and technical support, the firm hopes to Increase its volume of production by 50 percent, sales by 25 percent, and to be fully GMP and HACCP compliant. In 2009, V-Sun initially produced 1.6 tons of pancit canton. It recently constructed another production plant in a new site to accommodate increasing demand for their noodles.

Lastly, Fabian Espiritu of FARMTEC Foods, Inc. in Silang upgraded his food laboratory to be used in quality control and food analysis. With DOST's financial assistance of PhP0.57M the company acquired modern laboratory equipment to complement their existing ones. The firm produces and distributes dehydrated food ingredients such as: chili, tamarind, shrimp, ginger, and turmeric powders; processed chicken oil; squash canton noodles; and banaba tea. In 2009, FARMTEC provided, as a new service offering, in-house analysis for total plate count, coliform count, yeast and molds valued at PhP1.3M.