2013 survey results conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) reveal that Region IX has high prevalence of both underweight and stunted children aged 0-5. This age group is very crucial for physical and mental development, thus lack of nutrition during this stage may result to severe health impacts which can continue later in life.
DOST-FNRI, in its response to address the persistent health issues among young kids and to meet the country’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG), has initiated a science and technology (S&T) based interventions to fight malnutrition, dubbed as “DOST PINOY”, (Package for the Improvement of Nutrition Of Young Children).
The interventions aim to reduce the prevalence of under nutrition among 6 months to 35 months old children through production and technology transfer of complementary food blends and snack foods developed by FNRI. Thus, the project “Roll-Out of Complementary Food Production in the Regions” was implemented. Spearheaded by DOST-CAR,the production facility is also being put-up in regions IV-B, Caraga and XII for the first batch of project implemention.
The Blessing, Turn-Over & Inauguration of Complementary Food Production Facility was formally held on March 6 in Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay. The activity was attended by NEDA IXRegional Director and RDC IX Acting Chairperson Teresita Socorro C. Ramos, Tungawan Municipality Mayor Randy Climaco, DOST IX Regional Director Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano, DOST-CAR Regional Director Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat, NNC Regional Program Coordinator Maria del Pilar Pamela Tarroza, DOST-PCIEERD Representative Ms. Grace Estillore, and DOST-FNRI Technical Staff. Regional line agencies present during the turn-over, such as DOLE, DTI, DSWD, expressed support to sustain the project.
Dir. Nazareth-Manzano said that the project started when LGU-Tungawan Municipal Mayor Randy A. Climaco signified strong interest and commitment to adopt the commercialization of the technology-based enterprise. As project counterpart, the LGU provided the building which serves as the processing area to produce the DOST-FNRI developed complementary food products. The needed manpower for the operations of the project was also complemented by the municipal mayor.
Meanwhile, DOST funded the acquisition of production / processing equipment such as octagon mixer, hot extrusion line, moisture meter, auto packaging machine, digital weighing scales, kitchen utensils, stainless steel working table and packaging materials. Proper trainings on the production of complementary foods and basic sanitation and hygiene were also provided to the production workers. To ensure greater support to the project, DOST is also assisting in the production of promo collateral materials in video and print formats.
Specifically, the complementary food products are rice-mongo curls made from a blend of rice flour and mongo flour. A 30-gram pack of rice-mongo curls contains 130 Kcal of energy and 4g protein, enough to meet 12.1% of recommended energy and 14.3% of recommended protein intake of 1-3 years old children. While a 30-gram pack of instant rice-mongo baby food blend contains 120 Kcal of energy and 4 grams protein, enough to meet 17% of recommended energy and 29% of recommended protein intake for 6-12 months old children.
The municipality of Tungawan in Zamboanga Sibugay is like other areas in the countryside where malnutrition has been always a major issue, despite of collective efforts of the government, NGOs and other stakeholders. Aside from income shortage, the community has limited knowledge on preparing nutritious foods from locally available raw materials.
Through the project, the LGU has initially received a purchase order from DSWD-IX for some 41,600 pieces of rice–mongo products amounting to PhP166,800. The purchase order was obtained right after the conduct of the DOST-FNRI technology training held last September 22-26, 2014. DSWD IX will use the food items in their supplementary feeding program in Zamboanga City. It is expected that more government and private organizations will make use of the locally-developed food products.
Certainly, the project will create more local jobs and marketing opportunities, thus uplifting the socio-economic status of the area and nearby municipalities. (DOST IX PRESS RELEASE)