By Liezle Basa Inigo
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — The provincial government here is set to construct a food processing plant to provide for food security to every Cagayano in times of calamities, according to Jenifer Junio-Baquiran, chief of the Local Economic and Investment Promotions Office (LEIPO) of the province.
Baquiran said the different offices of the province have consolidated their resources to come up with ideas that would ensure sufficient production of food for everyone.
Base on the order and recommendation of Cagayan Governor Manuel N. Mamba, the provincial government will construct a food processing center at the Provincial Farm School and Agri-Tourism Center in Anquiray, Amulung.
The program will train locals with the help of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
This will be spearheaded by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, Provincial Veterinary Office, Tourism Office, and the Department of Trade and Industry Office in Cagayan.
“Plano ng ating gobernador na mag-invest para sa isang center na tutugon sa ating pangangailangan sa food security. Maganda at napaka-praktikal ng vacuum packing na turo ng DOST na maganda para sa mga relief operations at nutrition feeding programs dahil napapanatili nitong fresh ang pagkain na hindi nasisira ang nutritional values nito,” said Baquiran.
[Translation: Our governor plans to invest in this center to cater to our food security needs. The vacuum packing process taught to us by the DOST is a great and practical means to keep food for relief operations and feeding programs fresh, keeping their nutritional values.]
They can also make chips out of kalabasa and okra as an alternative chichirya for children, added Baquiran as she noted that arrozcaldo, as well as binatog and pinapaitan, can be kept in vacuum-sealed packages or bottles, using natural methods that require no preservatives.
Baquiran also said the governor sees the potential of the center to upgrade the products of Cagayan and make them suitable for exporting.
“Ito ay isa sa maaring ipagmalaki ng lalawigan at ibenta at pagkakitaan lalung-lalo na sa pagbubukas ng Port of Aparri (These are products we can be proud of, and sell and make money from when the port of Aparri reopens),” Baquiran said.
The program will also support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), further boosting its economy.
“This is why we are now organizing the SME and Medium Enterprise Council of Cagayan,” said Baquiran.
Meanwhile, vegetable seedlings are now being distributed to Cagayanos. The Provincial Veterinary Office will also provide livestock and small ruminants as a measure in promoting food sufficiency in the province.