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The Department of Science and Technology’s– Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) conducted a virtual business forum for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) of Region VI on January 27, 2021. This aims to promote DOST-FNRI technology transfer services in Western Visayas.

The DOST-FNRI Virtual Business Forum for the MSMEs and SUCs provided a picture of the current nutritional status of Filipinos and the DOST-FNRI’s science-based technologies and interventions that can address malnutrition problems.

Engr. Rowen R. Gelonga, Regional Director of the DOST Region Office No. VI, welcomed the participants of the virtual business forum.

In his opening remarks, Director Gelonga stressed the importance of addressing malnutrition through research-based outputs and technologies, and collaboration of government, industries and private corporations.

The DOST is ready to assist MSMEs and SUCs that are interested in adopting the technologies and availing the services of the department, he added.

Ms. Lea B. Landicho, Science Research Analyst of the Business Development Unit of the DOST-FNRI led the discussion by highlighting the importance of proper nutrition especially during the first 1,000 days in relation to the results of the Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS).

Ms. Landicho also discussed the supply and demand sides of the Malnutrition Reduction Program (MRP), DOST’s banner program to address malnutrition among infant and young children.

The supply side, according to Ms. Landicho’s presentation, is established through the putting- up of complementary food production facilities (CFPF) in various regions of the Philippines.

Qualified adoptors are then provided with production equipment, technical assistance, license to produce and commercialize the complementary food blends and snack foods made from locally-grown rice, mungbean, and sesame.

Ms. Landicho added that the demand side or the MRP-DOST PINOY (Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young children) intervention strategy ensures that these complementary foods are brought to the young Filipino children especially those who are malnourished in the countryside.

The intervention includes nutrition education among identified Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) on basic nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, meal planning, safe food handling and preparation, and backyard vegetable gardening.

Ms. Landicho also informed the participants that the National Priority Plan (NPP) of the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) also included the MRP.

Under the NPP, all companies or institutions that will donate to any of the programs in the list, such as the MRP, are entitled to full tax deduction equivalent to their donations, Ms. Landicho explained.

The DOST-FNRI, through its Business Development Unit, is looking for individuals or entities engaged in trade or business who can be donors to the MRP under the NEDA’s NPP.

Technical and financial details of other DOST-FNRI technologies, such as brown-rice products, complementary foods, squash-based bakery products, and the Enhanced Nutribun were also shared by Ms. Landicho, along with the technology transfer protocols and process.

Ms. Landicho encouraged the participants to push through with technology adoption and become an MRP donor by writing a letter and coordinating with the DOST Regional Office VI.

Dr. Anthony P. Calibo, DOST-FNRI Deputy Director, wrapped-up the virtual technology forum with his closing remarks.

Dr. Calibo expressed his gratitude to the DOST Regional Office VI headed by Director Gelonga for assisting the DOST-FNRI in making the virtual forum possible.

In his message, Dr. Calibo pointed out that malnutrition still persists in various areas of the country including Region VI.

Together with the initiatives of DOST and other government offices, and assistance and support of the MSMEs, academe, industries and other private entities, malnutrition problems can be eradicated and solved.

Dr. Calibo called for inter-sectorial collaborations for better health and nutritional status of the Filipinos especially for the young generation.

DOST-FNRI, along with the other DOST regional offices and with assistance and support of private individuals and business, continues in bringing science-based food and nutrition information, technologies, and services to alleviate the malnutrition problems of the country.

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