Staff from the National Coconut Research Center (NCRC) prepared Makapuno strips and macaroons in front of some 30 trainees. Preparing pitsi-pitsi, espasol, Chippy, Yuca sticks and rolls from cassava, and fries from sweet potato were demonstrated by the Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center (PhilRootcrops). NCRC and PhilRootcrops are national R&D centers based in VSU.

A two-day training on meat and fish processing and food sanitation was conducted by VSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology (DFST). The participants learned how to process meat into nuggets, sausages, and tocino, and fish into siomai, sardines, and fish balls.

DFST Head Dr. Lorina Galvez pointed out to the trainees that while they learn healthier and better ways to prepare meat products for their families, the training actually aims to challenge them to start their own food businesses.

The participants, who were mostly women, were encouraged to organize themselves into a group which will later produce and sell the food products they learned to prepare. A farmer quipped that she was willing to start a food business especially when she found the recipes very easy and potentially profitable.

Food products like the makapuno macaroons, cassava chippy, among other things, can potentially double one’s capital.

Heeding farmers’ woes on the cost of cooking equipment, former PhilRootcrops Head Dr. Juliet Roa advised farmers on the process of organizing themselves into an association. Farmers’ associations help ease the burden of purchasing equipment and facilities necessary for product manufacture.

“[VSU] can assist organized farmers by providing technical knowledge on the products as well as on the marketing aspect,” Roa said. Additionally, Roa offered help to the farmers through VSU in facilitating the process of applying into an association.

Efforts from the local government unit of Hilongos to establish a processing unit for cassava and other root crops for farmers and rural women were already well under way. Moreover, Hilongos Mayor Albert Villahermosa graced the fish processing demo as he was an enthusiast himself in food processing.

The Agro-Panginabuhi Caravan is one of the highlights of the municipality’s fiesta on Dec. 21-22. It was a week-long training on natural farming and food processing.

Requests for trainings at VSU can be arranged by contacting the Office of the Director for Extension at (053) 335-3935 or through this email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..