The Visayas State University (VSU), through the Department of Food Science and Technology (DFST), hosted the 2nd Food Value Chain (FVC) Seminar held at the Bayfront Hotel, Cebu City from September 11-14, 2018.

Anchored on the theme, “Food and nutrition security in ASEAN Region, through human resource development,” the seminar featured Japanese and Filipino resource persons who are experts in the fields of food and agriculture coming from the different reputable partner companies in Japan and government agencies in the Philippines.

A series of lectures included diverse topics on agricultural cooperatives, food safety, precision farming, genetic resources, packaging technology, and food service industry.

ASEAN HRD Coordinator Eiji Hatano emphasized the contribution of the FVC to the economic development of its member countries, in his keynote message.

“To further develop the economy in the region [ASEAN] in the future, it is very important to improve efficiency and add value to each stage of the food value chain,” Hatano said.

VSU President Edgardo E. Tulin, in his opening remarks, highlighted the importance of the ASEAN initiative towards food and nutrition security and expressed his plans to adapt the FVC seminar in Region 8 and in the whole country.

“We are piloting this in Region 8 so that other state universities’ faculty and staff can also train along this area. And hopefully we will expand this later, maybe in a national scope, so that we may be able to get the maximum benefits of other state universities in the country,” Tulin said.

Yoshinoya Co., Ltd., a leading restaurant chain business in Japan, conducted a job recruiting seminar for interested participants after the lectures on the second day, September 12.

On the third day, September 13, the delegates went on a tour to two food companies based in Cebu, Profood International Corporation which is the largest producer of dried mango in the Philippines, and Ajinomoto Philippines Flavor Food Inc., a packaging company of Ajinomoto products.

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 Apart from VSU delegation, other universities in Region 8 were also invited including NorthWest Samar State University, Eastern Samar State University and Southern Leyte State University. This is to expand the reach of the initiative and to give other SUCs the opportunity of being a part of the ASEAN project. A total of more than 80 delegates participated in the event.

VSU DFST Head Dr. Ivy C. Emnace, expressed her gratitude to all the participants who joined the event and told that everyone has gained more than technical knowledge from the four-day convention.

“Personally, I believe that the most important outcome from the event aside from the knowledge that they gained from the different topics was on how we were able to build new relationships with people, forge friendship among participants, and create linkages with international agencies like the MAFF of Japan and the ASEAN,” Emnace told.

The Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center in the Eastern Visayas (ATI-RTC 8), the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture (DA), is also a staunch supporter of the FVC initiative. Regional Director Dr. Vilma M. Patindol graced the event.

The activity’s expenses were all paid for by the ASEAN and MAFF of Japan.

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The ASEAN project

The FVC seminar is one of the many activities under the larger project, entitled Human Resource Development in Food-Related Areas through Partnerships with Universities in ASEAN Region.

The project, as initiated by ASEAN and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), aims to establish an effective linkage for the transfer of cutting-edge technology and information among ASEAN countries, particularly from Japanese industries.

Furthermore, the project also seeks to develop human resources in food-related areas at VSU, and in the whole of Eastern Visayas.

In the Philippines, VSU is the only member agency chosen by ASEAN and MAFF to implement the project. The 1st FVC seminar was also hosted by VSU and was held at the university’s Center for Continuing Education on December 1-2, 2016.