Kidapawan City fruit growers poised to go processing
by N Dillera
Koronadal, South Cotabato (20 October) -- Responding to the need to extend the shelf-life of the bountiful harvest in Kidapawan City, the Department of Trade & Industry North Cotabato organized a Forum on Investment Opportunities and Technology Development for Fruit Juices, and a Competition on Best Processed Fruits. This was staged in time for the celebration of "Timpupo Festival" or Fruit Festival in the City.
DTI-North Cotabato Provincial Director Engr. Anthony said, this need was particularly identified by the local fruit growers themselves during the harmonization of small and medium enterprise plans recently.
The first step in harmonizing the plan is to draw issues and gaps identified as deterring the development of the SMEs. This is followed by the identification and conduct of an activity that could possibly respond to the issue.
PD Bravo disclosed that the competition aimed to generate new ways of processing and adding value to the voluminous fruit harvests yearly.
True to its objectives, there were a number of new products introduced. These include bottled rambutan in syrup, rambutan jam and marmalade, fruity cake, fruit empanaditas and tarts and others. The shelf-life of these preserved fruits range from one week to six months.
Meanwhile, the forum generated positive responses in terms of fruit processing. However, there is still an urgent issue of having a facility that they could use to process their fruits. This can be a common service facility that could be established by an private investor or the government and which the local entrepreneurs can make use of for a fee.
Also highlighting the forum was presentation made by a Belgium-based Filipina buyer, Ms. Louise Baterna, who underscored the prerequisites of products that can find market abroad.
Based on earlier arrangements, the fruit growers in Kidapawan City are set to send a trial shipment to Belgium through Ms. Baterna. (PIA 12) [top]