QYEA’s ubi powder attracts local, foreign buyers

The ubi powder produced by Quirino Young Entrepreneurs Association (QYEA) through Quirino State University (QSU)’s upgraded crop processing facility reaches both the local and international market.

“This May, we have delivered 100kg of ubi powder to Sasmuan delicacies in Pampanga while another 500kg is set to be shipped to Japan,” Quirino State University (QSU) associate professor and researcher Mila T. Benabise said in an interview with DA-BAR on 1 June 2023.

Funded under the DA’s Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund program, QSU’s crop processing facility had its new look and improved features resulting in enhanced product quality and production capacity of the processors.

Renovated in 2021, the said facility, which welcomes young entrepreneurs, students, and members of Farmer Cooperatives and Associations, acquired new processing machinery and equipment turning its products to be competitive both locally and internationally.

Benabise explained that the upgrading of the processing facility opened new possibilities resulting in the development of new products.

“Through the addition of a pulverizer, cabinet oven, hydraulic slicer, dehydrator, and other processing equipment, we were able to kickstart the production of a high-quality ubi powder,” Benabise highlighted.

Before the project, QSU’s processing facility only catered selected crops due to its limited capacity and equipment. Members of QYEA can only process crops like soya and bignay into food products like flour and butterscotch; and fruit juices and wine, respectively.

With its attractive color and food grade qualities, the ubi powder appealed to potential buyers, dealers, and partners during the International Food Exhibition (IFEX) Philippines last 26-28 of May at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

According to Nur E. Agustin, QYEA acting chair, the product had a total sales amounting to PhP 65,870 during the three-day food exhibit. He also reported a total of 41 inquiries from potential buyers. 

With its current market linkages, the members of the QYEA along with ubi farmers from Baguio Village, Diffun, Quirino expect bigger production of fresh and processed ubi.

Walang value ang ubi para sa amin dati. Sabi nga nila, tanim daw ito ng mga tamad kaya naman hindi namin masyado binigyang pansin. Kung dati ay nabubulok lang, o di naman kaya ay pinapakain lang namin sa aming mga alagang hayop, ngayon ay nabebenta na namin ito at napagkakakitaan,” Baguio Village Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BAVIMCO) marketing head Brenda Diola I. Ignacio shared.

With its current successes in the market, the said product ensures sustained and increased income to QYEA members and BAVIMCO ubi farmers.

“We have ongoing talks with potential partners in South Korea even with government agencies in the country. We have come a long way but greater things are yet to come for the ubi powder and every hand that labors for it,” Benabise said. (### Angelo N. Padura)