Today is: Sun, May 26, 2013
Farmers Honed For Global Quality
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Food processing firms in Mindanao complying with international food quality and safety requirements are helping generate more livelihood opportunities among local farmers, enabling them to become globally competitive, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said.
This holds true to several companies that have acquired the HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) certification with assistance from the USAID, the international agency said in a statement Wednesday.
As a systematic approach to food safety and quality that limits potential physical, chemical, and biological hazards in food production, HACCP is increasingly becoming a standard requirement for export markets, said the statement emailed to the Manila Bulletin.
“HACCP-certified food processors generally experience sharp rise in the number of interested buyers from other countries. To fill the growing demand for their products, these firms source additional raw materials from farmer-suppliers,” the statement said.
For instance, the USAID cited Helen del Rosario of Soyuz Foods, a processor of native lime (calamansi)-based products, as confessing at the recent international trade show PhilFoodEx that “buyers who at one time would not even return my calls, are now buying products following our HACCP certification.”
Del Rosario, it said, is expanding her company’s farmer-supplier base and meeting regularly with individual growers, farming cooperatives, and other groups in southern and northern Mindanao, to ensure a steady supply of the native limes for Soyuz.
“We have to find more suppliers to meet increased demand,” Marilou Fernandez of equally HACCP-tested KF Nutri Foods International was also quoted as telling trade show participants and guests.
The USAID said the KF Nutri Foods, which exports processed banana chips, gets much of its fruit supply from conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, the foreign agency said.
“The Cardaba banana from which we make our chips is not a plantation crop but is grown on small farms,” Fernandez was quoted as saying in the USAID statement.
The statement also featured Isidro Ang, vice president of Martsons Food Corporation, which sells tropical fruit products such as dried mango, pineapple, and papaya, as well as fruit juices and aseptic purees, for his testimony about farmers having “more options for selling” nowadays with the HACCP assistance.
Martsons is one of 15 Mindanao’s small-to-medium enterprises, which have acquired HACCP certification through the assistance of USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program implemented under the oversight of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
USAID said it helps participating companies to develop the systems and procedures needed for HACCP-compliance, which must be audited and certified by TUV-SUD, a globally recognized quality management agency based in Germany.