ZAMBOANGA CITY (PIA) - The Region-9 office of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-9) has recently approved the project to upgrade the "tablea" production facility of the Roteo Farm.
The assistance, amounting to P131,400 is funded under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).
The Roteo Farm, owned by Teosista Balladares, is located at Pian in Polanco, Zamboanga del Norte.
It was learned that processing cacao into chocolate tablet or "tablea" was inherited by the current owner from her parents.
Through the new technology introduced by the Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines (CocoaPhil), the farm was able to acquire facilities such as solar and mechanical dyer, fermentation boxes, and shredder for cacao peels.
The increasing demand for tablea prompted the owner of the Roteo Farm to implement the upgrade of their existing processing facilities.
Considering the management's capability and technical know-how to man the project, the high demand for the finished product, high profit, and the impact that will be generated from the project operation, the Regional Technical Evaluation Committee of the DOST highly recommend the approval of the SETUP assistance.
It was also learned that the assistance will include the acquisition of new sets of equipment to include a roaster, grinder, and molder.
Training on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Basic Sanitation and Hygiene for food handlers will also be conducted to its workers.
Through the project, Roteo Farm is expected to produce better quality tablea, increase their production and income by 70 percent.
The SETUP, a flagship program of the DOST, is a nationwide strategy to encourage and assist micro, small. and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in implementing technological innovations and improvements in their operations to boost their productivity and competitiveness.