Author: Kim L. Ravelo, PTA I, PSTO-Nueva Ecija
Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija – Five farmer groups in this town is set to benefit with the provision of equipment that can turn their postharvest losses into profit.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Provincial Science and Technology Office of Nueva Ecija recently turned over squash processing equipment to the Nagkakaisang Gabay sa Bayan ng Gabaldon, an organized cooperative composed of five (5) barangays, namely Barangay Bagong Sikat, Bantug, Carugang, Bugnan and Cupaya.
Squash is one of the crops grown in the municipality. However, due to the large volume of harvest, farmers are usually forced to sell their produce at low prices just so they can earn something even at a loss while the rest are left to rot and spoil.
Now through the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program, members of the cooperative can process the surplus harvest into other squash-based products such as squash noodles, squash made of flour and squash chips. Not only will the farmers earn extra income, but they will also get to contribute to the improvement of nutritional status of the people in the community, especially children as their products can be used in feeding programs initiated by the municipality. The equipment included during the deployment for squash processing are stainless-steel working tables, digital platform scale, dough mixer, digital weighing scale, noodle maker, deep fryer, cooling rack, blenders and foot stamp sealer.
“Lubos po ang aming pasasalamat sa DOST Region 3 at kay Senator Joel Villanueva para sa mga ipinagkaloob nilang mga kagamitan para po sa pag poproseso sa mga naani naming kalabasa na naiibenta lang po naming sa murang halaga. Ngayon po na nabigyan na po kami ng mga kagamitan sa pagpoproseso ay mas mahal na po naming maibebenta yung mga ma poproduce po naming na gawa sa kalabasa gaya ng squash noodles, maraming maraming salamat po DOST mula po saaming association” Ms. Mara P. Arcilla, Chairperson of the association said.
Provincial Director Leidi Mel B. Sicat, PSTO-Nueva Ecija said during the turnover program that the group will also be provided with other assistance such as training on squash processing, basic food hygiene, 5S and GMP.
Photo OP during the deployment of squash processing equipment with DOST PSTO-Nueva Ecija Provincial Director, CEST Staff and Beneficiary.
Pictures during the demo for the usage of equipment for squash processing.