DA-Cagayan Valley, DA-BAR strengthen technology business incubation, inaugurate R4D Food Processing Facility

In a bid to further strengthen the technology business incubation program in Cagayan Valley, its DA-Regional Office, through support from DA-BAR, inked Memorandum of Agreements/Understanding with the different startup enablers offering business and technology development services on 13 December 2022 at DA-Cagayan Valley Research Center (CVRC), San Felipe, City of Ilagan, Isabela. 

In the said MOU, participating institutions will be establishing “co-incubation” programs that will benefit all concerned startups and MSMEs — streamlining the participating institutions’ services, bridging identified gaps, and co-sharing resources. 

“Ultimately, the [incubation] program will make the goal of developing and sustaining technology-based enterprises in the agriculture and aquaculture industries more achievable through collaboration and networking,” Agribusiness Developed Processed Products–Technology Business Incubator (ADePt-TBI) manager Mark Patrick P. Atabay said. 

Representatives from the Nueva Vizcaya State University Sabatan Technopreneurs Hub (NVSU Sabatan), CSU Business Incubation Zone for Novel and Sustainable Technology Enterprises (CSU Biznest), Cagayan Valley Legumes Technology Business Incubator of the Cagayan State University (CVLTBI), Synergistic, Innovative and Agile Cagayan Valley (SINAG Cagayan Valley), and the Provincial Science and Technology Office – Isabela (DOST-PSTC Isabela) were present during the MOU signing. 

The said activity coincided with the Open House cum Inauguration of the Food Product Research and Development Center under the ADePt-TBI. 

Serving as the 1st DA-operated technology business incubator in the Philippines, ADePt-TBI houses the DA-CVRC Food Product Research and Development Center to provide a facility for the generation, transfer, and commercialization of modern technologies in food processing and safety for the farmers, fisherfolks, and agripreneurs in the region. 

DA-Cagayan Valley regional technical director for Research and Regulations Rose Mary G. Aquino and DA-CVRC manager Engr. Rolando D. Pedro expressed gratitude to all partner agencies and stakeholders for their continuous support in the implementation of the project. 

As they commended the first year accomplishments of the project, they also further the regional office’s commitment to continuously exert effort in the successful transfer of research outputs to farmers and agripreneurs in Cagayan Valley.  

ADePt-TBI’s establishment ushered the entry of 10 incubatees resulting in 10 Technology Transfer Agreements signed and seven food product brands adopted. Six of these incubatees became technology takers of various food processing technologies being offered by the incubator. Processing technologies include different agricultural commodities such as peanut, lowland vegetables, corn, soybean, rice and duck. 

“ADePt-TBI has already delivered at least 20 different kinds of training and mentorship for its incubatees spanning from business development, entrepreneurial, and technical, to technology transfer training,” Vanessa Joy F. Calderon, ADePt-TBI project leader, shared. 

One of its notable commercialization stories so far is the KTCM Enterprise. Through the incubation program, Pak Gulay’s deHIGHdrated Veggie Chips and Instant Pinakbet is now regularly being sold in stores around Cagayan Valley region. Incubatee Rheina G. de Guzman, the founder of KTCM Enterprise, presented her testimony and experiences under the TBI. 

“I am excited for what’s more to come for Pak Gulay Food Products. Our attempts to market the Pak Gulay products led us to the interest of some major retail players. Hopefully, under the [Advanced] Incubation Program, we could see it through until the end,” shared de Guzman.  

DA-BAR Research Program Development Division head Raymond Patrick L. Cabrera, in his message of support, pledged the continuous support of the DA-BAR in 2023 to the DA-Cagayan Valley in its implementation of the technology business incubation project. He added that together with the Research Division and the Agribusiness Marketing Assistance Services, the DA-BAR will support ADePt-TBI in its goal to reach more incubatees and to increase the impact and use of the technologies generated by the region’s researchers. 

The ADePt-TBI Open House is the commencement of the opening of applications for the incubator's Cohort 2 of incubatees. Seventy BS Industrial Technology students from the Isabela State University–Ilagan attended the Open House and were oriented about the TBI programs and services, touring around the Food Product Research and Development Center and TBI Co-Working Space. Attendees of the ADePt-TBI Open House are expected to join the incubation program by 2023. (### Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino and Camille O. Francisco)