The Department of Science and Technology in Region IX, assisted about 40 coconut farmers to acquire a Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) License to Operate (LTO) registration.
The farmers, from the Malandi-Patalon Zamboanga City Agrarian Reform Association Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MAPZACARA) received S&T interventions for the upgrading of their water treatment facility, which they use in the production of coco sugar.
Currently, they have four hectares of dwarf coconut plantation and are processing an average of 35 kilograms of coco sugar per month, which they market in Zamboanga City only.
However, they cannot maximize their production due to limited access to larger markets since they do not have the necessary FDA-LTO registration as of yet.
“This is so because they are unable to meet the FDA standards for water quality and organic certification of the products,” DOST said.
Hence, with the assistance from DOST through its Grants-in-Aid Program, DOST-IX provided equipment to the cooperative such as the purified water premium setup, moisture analyzer, and band sealer, among others.
Other S&T interventions under the project include laboratory testing, training, and other technical assistance. This project is aimed at improving the quality of water used in the production of coco sugar and ultimately, help the cooperative meet the standards for them to acquire the FDA-LTO registration.