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, 2020 to introduce food technologies developed by DOST-FNRI to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the MIMAROPA Region.

With COVID-19 putting more people at risk through disrupted health and nutrition services and job and income losses, DOST-MIMAROPA and DOST-FNRI reiterated to MSMEs the value of technologies in terms of improving access to healthy food and economic opportunities despite the pandemic. 

Attendees of the Virtual Orientation and Technology Forum organized by DOST-MIMAROPA and DOST-FNRI

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.

Technologies presented include 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; Complementary Foods or any food or liquid other than breast milk or formula milk introduced to infants or children to provide nutrients such as 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); Emergency foods for disasters and calamities like Brown Rice Bar; Ethnic Foods; and Squash Supplemented Products. Other newly developed technologies including Extruded, Frozen, 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) were introduced to MSMEs looking for viable business opportunities. DOST-FNRI 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 in the 1970s called the E-Nutribun, recently developed by DOST-FNRI was also showcased during the technology forum. The vitamin-enriched bread is said to be reformulated to be softer with micronutrients mostly from squash and is intended for use during feeding programs organized by the government and in providing enough and nutritious food for families facing hunger especially this COVID-19 pandemic. Eight MSMEs showed interest in adopting the technology and were invited to the soft launching of the product held last July 29, 2020. Following the soft launch, three MSMEs from Marinduque and Romblon have already submitted their letter of intent, which is the first step towards the adoption of the technology.

Other food technologies that sparked interest among MSMEs include MGM 6, Brown Rice Fruity Bar, Tubig Talino, Rice Mongo Curls, Iron Fortified Rice, Pancit Canton Squash, and Stabilized Brown Rice. As the Fairness Opinion Board (FOB) Secretariat, DOST-MIMAROPA 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).