Although Bohol is predominantly an agricultural province, home-based industries, which are mostly in the micro and cottage levels, play a very vital role in the local economy. Furthermore, with the growing tourism industry in the province, food processing has been considered as a major and fast growing business sector.
A random survey conducted last October of 2006 by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Bohol Provincial Office for the food processing sector revealed that only 368 of the food processing firms and about 34 cooperatives/associations with food processing projects are registered, compared to some 500 unregistered processors. Likewise, only 18% of the respondent food processors have undergone formal food safety trainings and 12% have BFAD Registration.
Of about 1,000 firms doing food processing: 35% are into bakery products, cakes and biscuits; 18% into cookies and delicacies; 12% into snack foods and chips; 10% into calamay, suman and puto; 5% into chicharon and tableya; 5% into VCO, vinegar and bahalina; 3% into ice food, fruits ad juice drinks, and 2% into processed meat and fish products.
Another survey result revealed that 30-50% of food spoilage is attributed primarily to insufficient packaging and almost 90% of small food processors have very poor packaging.
The ITS-SAFE Project aims to address the issue by enhancing awareness of local food processors on the importance of food safety, considering that Bohol is now a prime tourist destination in the country. Aside from the conduct of food safety trainings for food processors, the project also intends to improve the packaging and labeling designs of the food products.
The project likewise intends to encourage project beneficiaries to shift packaging to food grade packaging materials, thus increasing food safety of Boholano processed food. Another benefit is the strengthening of the Bohol brand by ensuring the quality and safety of food that tourists eat or take home with them as “pasalubong”.
The Integrated Technology, Systems and Support Amenities for Food Enterprises (ITS-SAFE) Center will be established at NIA Compound, Barangay Dao in Tagbilaran City. BCCI has entered into a usufruct agreement with the Provincial Government of Bohol for the use of an abandoned building which will be fully renovated for the project.
The center will maintain a Provincial Food Safety Team which will be responsible for enhancing awareness of at least 1,000 food processors on the importance of food safety and packaging. A Food and Packaging Center will likewise be set up, complete with necessary packaging equipment. The center will also provide technical support and extension services to livelihood groups and firms through the extension of industry and firm level consultancy on food safety, food testing, workplace improvements (production layout improvements, time and motion studies, production process flow, etc.), product development, product packaging and labeling that shall enable at least
300 local food processors to increase productivity hygienically produce and properly package their products.
The center will network and converge with other stakeholders to further promote the project and come up with a comprehensive data base and food industry profile for the processed food sector. A well-furnished commissary/business incubator will likewise be established, complete with necessary equipment for the introduction and development of new food products with supporting technology replication.
The center will provide label designing and package printing assistance to livelihood groups and/or individual firms through generic packaging and package printing financing program.
Taken from www.philippinechamber.com