Cassava is a tuberous edible plant from which cassava chips and flour, breads, a laundry starch, delicacies and even an alcoholic beverage are derived. It has been observed that Cassava flour is now widely used in bakeshops in Zamboanga del Norte, instead of wheat flour.
With the growing demand of cassava flour, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-IX), through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), has granted an innovation assistance to the People’s Officials, Employees and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative (POEMCO) which is located in the municipality of Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte. The organization has about 160 hectares of area planted with cassava. The cooperative sells the raw cassava to San Miguel Foods Incorporated (SMFI) which is then processed into various products especially animal feeds.
DOST’s innovation support amounting to Four Hundred Thirteen Pesos (PhP413,000.00) will be used to purchase cassava processing equipment, such as cassava flour mill, hammer mill, feed mixer and electric bag closer. The interventions will result to the following significant impacts: 1) product development - production of standard quality cassava flour; 2) process improvement – food safety compliant processing facility; 3) system improvement – improvement of production operations through equipment upgrading; and 4) manpower development – productivity improvement of workers through trainings on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and equipment operation and maintenance.
Consequently, the cooperative is expected to produce at least 60 bags per month of cassava flour; supply the demand of the six target market outlets; penetrate at least 10 existing bakeries in the municipality; and generate additional employment opportunities in the community. (DOST IX PRESS RELEASE)