May 4, 2021
Sta. Marcela, Apayao – The Department of Science and Technology – Cordillera Administrative Region (DOST-CAR) is set to roll-out the enhanced nutribun (E-Nutribun) squash variant in the region for the supplemental feeding of undernourished children, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic through technology adoptor VFM Food Products, a beneficiary of the DOST-Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).
As part of the technology transfer from the DOST- Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), VFM Food Products completed the required assessment and training as well as compliance to the standards and protocol to produce and market the E-Nutribun. With the DOST-FNRI technology license already issued to the firm on April 26, 2021, the second E-Nutribun adoptor in CAR is expected to start its production this May 2021. It can be recalled that Mila’s Bakeshop and Canteen, also a SETUP-assisted firm in Ifugao is the first E-Nutribun adoptor in CAR.
For its nutritional value, DOST Provincial S&T Director for Apayao Debbie Glynn Manangkil attested that the E-Nutribun has a new formulation and is made of natural, fresh squash.
“It is enriched with squash and milk to make it nutritious and delicious. It is great for snacks and it is being used for the Supplemental Feeding Programs of Department of Education, Department of Social Welfare and Development and other agencies,” said Dir. Manangkil.
The enhanced nutribun is a healthy bread made from squash that is rich in fiber, energy, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamin A—nutrients needed by growing Filipino children. It also has zero trans-fat, no cholesterol, no artificial flavor, and no food coloring.
Further, the E-Nutribun, partnered with milk products, are part of the national government’s supplementary feeding program for children during community quarantine. In April last year, the DSWD’s Memorandum Circular No. 12 Series of 2020 and the Nutrition Cluster Advisory No. 2 s. 2020 recommended the provision of healthy and nutritious family food packs and sustainable food source during community quarantine, set the guidelines for feeding program during the pandemic period and encouraged local government units (LGU) to use DOST-FNRI-developed products for their supplemental feeding program.
The E-Nutribun is the improved and reformulated version of the famous nutribun given to public school elementary pupils in the 1970s to 1980s to help address malnutrition.
To date, there are 79 licensed adoptors of E-Nutribun across the country since it was launched in July last year.
Based on the DOST-FNRI’s Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey conducted between November and December in 2020, only 11.9 percent of children aged 12 and below have participated in supplemental feeding programs — which was lower compared with the 21.6-percent participation of the targeted beneficiaries based on FNRI’s Expanded National Nutrition Survey.
Meanwhile, DOST-FNRI has launched its newest variety on April 29, 2021: the nutribun carrot variant, which is equally as nutritious as the squash variant. With the new E-Nutribun with carrots, existing and potential technology adoptors have an alternative when squash is expensive and in limited supply.
The DOST’s support to technology adoptors is embodied in the agency’s Technology Transfer and Commercialization Program, which provides technical and financial assistance to various sectors, including food processing, not only to enhance the productivity of micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs), but also to ensure science-based processes and technological innovations.
DOST-CAR enjoins entrepreneurs for partnerships in the production and marketing of the E-Nutribun, in view not only of the economic opportunities for technology adoptors but also to spur livelihood opportunities for local vegetable farmers.// Christian Robert Sandoval, May 4, 2021