Food facility rises in Mulanay, Quezon vs malnutrition
Posted: 2017-Aug-12 17.02.20 UTC+0800
MULANAY, Quezon — A medium scale complimentary food production (CFP) facility inside the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) compound here established by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is now operational to help curb the high incidence of malnutrition in the province.
Engr. Rosemarie Garcia, supervisor of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of DOST, said they are the lead implementing agency of the DOST's Malnutrition Reduction Program (MRP).
"Following its inauguration Thursday, the facility became operational after three years where DOST provided the funds, DOST- FNRI supplied the equipment and technology, PUP-Mulanay for the facility site, and with funding counterpart from Mulanay local government," Garcia said.
Initial production of the food facility includes the Rice-Mongo Sesame, a ready–to-cook baby food blend as complimentary food for babies six months old and above, as well as the Rice-Mongo Crunches for one-year old children up to three years.
FNRI also recommends the complimentary foods with two sachets of Rice-Mongo Sesame, for infants aged six months up to three years, which provides 430 kilo-calories or amount of energy per 100 grams.
This nutrient dosage supplies the recommended energy requirements of 720 kcal per day for infants six to12 months and 1,070 kcal for children one to three years old while the Rice-Mongo Crunches provides 580 kcal per 100 grams.
However, Garcia explained that the program does not cover infants below six months old as the best food for this age is mother's milk through breastfeeding.
FNRI Director Mario Capanzana disclosed that according to their survey, three in every 10 children in the country, aged 0 to 5 years, suffer from stunting, or shorter in height than the normal children under this age bracket.
"Stunting is a chronic indicator that we are not doing the right thing to respond to their (children's nutritional) needs. This means we have a problem that has not been attended to for several years, until we have this program now," Capanzana said.
He also reported that obesity has been found more prevalent to those 20 years of age and above.
The FNRI's mapping operation on malnutrition showed Quezon province's high incidence of malnutrition which prompted them to focus their support here.
"This was done through provision of facilities and technology transfer in the supply side by DOST-FNRI and the funding support through local government units (LGUs) legislation on the demand side in order to sustain the program," Capanzana said.
Another program known as the "DOST Pinoy Program" instituted by the agency, assists LGUs and the private sector engaged in feeding programs to focus on ages six months to 35 months as the "window of opportunity to provide their nutritional requirements." Negative effects could be irreversible once neglected, said the FNRI head.
Dr. Lydia Manguiat, assistant regional director of DOST Calabarzon (provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), also called for the creation of a sustainability plan to ensure that the project works for a long period towards the ultimate reduction of malnutrition in the province.
Manguiat's proposal includes material sourcing, facility upgrading after wear and tear of continued use, continuous capacity training of workers and nutritious product development aided by FNRI.
She also emphasized to develop a marketing plan and financial sustainability plan that to make the project "self-sustaining" and help reduce malnutrition.
DOST officials expressed optimism as the new facility also provides livelihood opportunities for people who can become suppliers of raw materials and those who will engage in selling the products to the LGUs.
Mulanay Mayor Joselito Ojeda, whose town is one of the recipients of DOST's Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) projects, said there are now available products for the LGU feeding programs rather than the unhealthy 'junk foods.'
DOST- Quezon provincial director Maria Esperanza Jawili expressed elation now that they have the facility to serve the province's 3rd and 4th districts.
She described the new facility as bigger compared with the two small scale facilities earlier constructed to serve adequate requirements in Calauag and Atimonan towns.
She also appealed to the mayors to support their respective Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) during the two-day training to be conducted by DOST starting September this year in several locations. (PNA)