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By: John Maico M. Hernandez, DOST-PSTC Batangas

NASI, ROSARIO, Batangas --- Members of the Mountview Upland Farmers Association, Inc. (MUFAI) are all set to operate their Science and Technology (S&T)-based enterprise after completing the two-day technology training on coconut vinegar and ginger brew production, March 22-23.

From the capacity building activity designed to help them develop a business which fits their available resources which took place on January 27-28, MUFAI advanced anew as they set off coconut vinegar and ginger brew production through the help of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) CALABARZON Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) Batangas and the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), an attached agency of DOST. Using the ITDI technology, DOST CALABARZON PSTC Batangas staff trained more than 20 members of the association from raw materials preparation to the detailed production process of coconut vinegar and ginger brew.

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Prior to production, members were trained on the basic food hygiene and current Good Manufacturing Practices to observe during operations. They were also asked about their familiarity on the production of coconut vinegar and ginger brew. Some members shared their experiences on the production of both products yet despite their existing knowledge they still sought for standardized formulation and process as they deemed these advantageous on enhancing products and increasing marketability.

Training on production pursued and has been limited to manual processing for the interim to prepare and see how the group would function as an enterprise and create their market. Step-by-step procedures were followed during the production with thorough explanation of the technicalities of each process. All the members had the chance to experience the processing of coconut vinegar and ginger brew according to their assigned functions.

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Discussion of the processing technology pursued on the second day. Mr. Bienvenido B.  Flores, Jr., Science Research Assistant, and Ms. Kristine Ann S. Dela Cruz, Science Research Specialist II, both from DOST-ITDI facilitated the discussion which has been limited to online due to pandemic. Given the limited internet connection at Brgy. Nasi, the online discussion has also served as a platform to validate the processes executed during the previous day of the training.

The outputs of the training were suggestive of the attainment of the training objectives. The coconut vinegar is still on its fermentation stage and several follow up activities are scheduled to ensure that the product would meet the standards for vinegar. The ginger brew, on the other hand, has been tasted and members loved the outcome.

MUFAI members appreciated the relevance of the training on their pursuit to establish their sought-after coconut vinegar and ginger brew enterprise. Moreover, Ms. Rosalina Villapando, MUFAI member, expressed her gratitude to DOST for this relevant undertaking for their benefit. “Salamat po sa lahat ng itinuro ninyo sa amin at talaga po namang marami kaming nalaman sa inyo. Malaking tulong po talaga ito sa amin,” she said.

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Next interventions for MUFAI are trainings on business planning, marketing, and financial management which Batangas State University (BatStateU) – Lipa Extension Services Office has committed to provide. The said office has served as a partner of DOST CALABARZON and PSTC Batangas in the facilitation and documentation of the activities for MUFAI.

The conduct of this training relative to the establishment of MUFAI’s proposed enterprise was anchored on the objectives of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) program in support to the “Agroforestry Support Program for Enhancing Resiliency of Community Based Forest Management Areas (ASPIRE-CBFM)” funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) in April 2019. MUFAI, formed by the virtue of Executive Order (EO) No. 263 and allied people-oriented policies and programs of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), was identified as one of the communities for ASPIRE-CBFM.