PGMA orders procurement of equipment for mass production of vegetable flour
Manila (6 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the immediate procurement of the equipment needed for the mass production of flour made from vegetables.
The President issued the directive to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Press Secretary Jesus Dureza told a media briefing in Malacanang.
Dureza said the mass production of flour made from vegetables would cut down significantly the country's importation of the costly wheat flour.
"The President has directed the DOST for the immediate procurement of equipment for the production of vegetable flour," Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Secretary Cerge Remonde said.
Remonde and Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III were with Dureza at the press briefing.
Remonde said flour from cassava, squash and other vegetables and crops would augment the supply of flour.
Commercial bakers have already raised the prices of their products such as "pan de sal" and loaf bread due to the high cost of imported wheat flour.
"We can make flour out of indigenous materials and at least mix it with (wheat) flour," Remonde said.
Remonde said Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila will also hold continuing dialogues with bakers and flour millers in an effort to prevent further price increases and support the government's Tinapay ng Bayan program.
Tinapay ng Bayan is a joint initiative of the Philippine Flourmillers Association, Inc., the Chamber of Philippine Flourmillers and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to sell cheaper bread and pan de sal, a popular breakfast food among ordinary Filipinos.
Aside from the mass production of vegetable flour, the President also launched recently the mass production of more nutritious vegetables noodles from the Benguet State University to help cushion the impact of soaring food prices on poor families.
The mass production of vegetable flour and vegetable noodles will definitely boost the farmers' income, provide an alternative market for local vegetables, and lower prices due to lesser dependence on imported and costly wheat flour, the DTI said. (PIA-MMIO) [top]