By: Niña Sherylle S. Giron

PSTC Rizal

Rizaleños’ love for food is palpable. The demand is so substantial that food entrepreneurs comprise 70% of the population pie.

As an offshoot of the province-wide requests for assistance in FDA LTO application, Department of Science and Technology - Provincial Science and Technology Center Rizal sought the Food and Drug Administration to visit Rizal and address the queries of Rizal MSMEs and CBPs.

DOST-PSTC Rizal conducted the Orientation Seminar in coordination with its convergence partners namely the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR )which are also active with assisting MSMEs through their respective banner programs. The activity was also done in time for the SARAP Summer Trade Fair which is an annual exhibition of food products by retailers and manufacturers.

Ms. Jinggay Lejano, Chairman of SARAP noted that this activity was very timely and helpful for the members of their organization which are mostly into food manufacturing. Of the 25 active SARAP members, a mere 23% of their member food firms have their licenses update. Among them is Balaw Balaw Foods Corporation which currently exports some of its finest products like fermented shrimp paste or balaw balaw and adobong itik in San Francsico, California. To put it simply, the rest are still struggling in acquiring their licenses.

During the open forum, the participants were able to actively identify their personal experiences and bottlenecks. Ms. Caroline C. Duller, Food and Drug Regulation Officer III of FDA was keen to address most of these concerns and recommended some useful tips. All in all, the discussion about the online application left most of the MSMEs hopeful and encouraged.

Because of the success of the activity, DOST-PSTC Rizal shall conduct another orientation seminar on this topic in celebration of the NSTW (National Science and Technology Week) sometime in July 2017. This is to extend the information to more MSMEs who have missed the opportunity to learn and understand the services not only of FDA but also DOST and its convergence partners.