Eight geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) have been identified as priority areas for the operation of the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s (FNRI) Complementary Food Production Facilities (CFPFs).
The DOST-FNRI announced that the eight GIDAs, which recorded “persistent malnutrition among infants and young children”, are expected to benefit from operation of CFPFs.
“These include the Ifugao State University (IFSU) in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR); Odiongan, Romblon; Alabel, Sarangani; Sulu State College (SSC); Zamboanga del Norte; Lanao del Norte; Catanduanes; and Tawi-Tawi,” it said in a atetement.
A complementary food processing facility was already constructed in Ifugao, Romblon, Sarangani and Sulu.
“The said eight (8) GIDAS are the priority areas of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) due to persistent malnutrition among infants and young children,” the FNRI said.
Based on the Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) conducted by the DOST-FNRI in 2019, three out of 10 Filipino children under five years old are stunted, while two out of 10 are underweight.
The institute noted that the GIDAs have also been identified as the priority areas of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) for 2017-2022.
“The Malnutrition Reduction Program (MRP), an integrated intervention strategy involving nutrition education and technology transfer of complementary food technologies of the DOST-FNRI, has yet to be implemented in these areas,’ it said.
The FNRI said under MRP, DOST regional and provincial offices joined hands with local government units (LGUs), entrepreneurs, academe and other organizations in implementing nutrition programs.
Through technology transfer, qualified beneficiaries are provided production equipment and license to produce and commercialize DOST-FNRI complementary food blends and snack foods in their respective communities, it said.
The DOST-FNRI said it has been extending technical assistance for the construction and operation of the proposed CFPFs.
“Aside from the establishment of CFPFs, the Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children or the DOST-PINOY will be implemented in these areas,” the institute said.
The DOST-PINOY seeks to benefit the Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) as they are given nutrition education on basic nutrition, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, meal planning, safe food handling and preparation, and backyard vegetable gardening.
“These trainings and seminars help in enhancing their knowledge and skills to effectively and efficiently implement the program in their localities,” the FNRI said.
It noted that the setting up of the CFPFs and the conduct of DOST-PINOY in priority areas are some of DOST-FNRI’s science-based intervention programs in combating malnutrition, not only in GIDAs, but all over the country.