The Laguna State Polytechnic University Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubation (LSPU-AATBI) and the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (DA-PhilMECH) are en route for partnership to bolster the cacao industry in Laguna.
In a Multi-Media Learning (MML) Webinar series of LSPU-AATBI on Cacao Processing Technology last September 24-25, 2020, Engr. Andres M. Tuates, PhilMECH’s Technology Developer of Cacao Processing Technology, assured his support to LSPU. “Sa PhilMech po, ibibigay po namin lahat, ia-assist to do the fabrication, [and] to do the testing hanggang ma-complete. Sa mga product naman po, magbibigay kami ng hands-on,” said Tuates.
Twenty-one Cacao growers and farm owners from Laguna towns such as Cavinti, Magdalena, Majayjay, and Nagcarlan attended the MML’s Day 1 on September 24 for Cacao Processing, while LSPU engineers met with Tuates on MML’s Day 2 on September 25, 2020 for potential research and development endeavors on Cacao facilities and equipment.
“Napakagandang gawain nito. Matututukan na ang industry ng Cacao dito sa province ng Laguna,” said Engr. Joseph Cabiente, Siniloan Campus Director in his welcome speech during the Webinar’s opening.
“I see a lot of R&D partnerships in this webinar,” said Dr. Robert Agatep, Director for Research, Development (R&D), on MML’s Day 2 with Engr. Tuates and LSPU engineers for processing technologies. Present during the discussion were Engr. Wilfredo Tuso III, Engr. Peter Urriza, and Engr. Menchie del Rosario, Dean of the Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Siniloan Campus and Engr. Romeo Solitario, Jr., Engr. Richmond Bautista, Engr. Mark Agus, Engr. Maricel Matuto, Engr. Josephine Villamin and Engr. Jonnel Pabico, Dean of the College of Engineering, Sta. Cruz Campus.
“Laguna is very much in need of engineers in addressing issues of our cacao processing. This is not future-y, or something that will not happen ‘cause I believe that this is something that needs to happen,” said Dr. Corazon N. San Agustin, Vice President for RDE, as she encouraged the engineers to take part in the initiative.
LSPU-AATBI is one of the ATBIs in the Philippines being funded by the DOST-PCAARRD while DA- PhilMECH is the country’s leading agency for postharvest development. The two parties are eyeing to hit the ground running as soon as proposals and agreements are reached with the DOST-PCAARRD LSPU-AATBI serving as the focal point for its coordination and implementation. -MLBarile & EELopez