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BY JULIO P. YAP JR.
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SETUP program benefits MSMEs, tribal communities
AMONG the notable programs of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region-12 or south central Mindanao is its assistance to the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP.
The program provides technical and technological assistance to the MSMEs to enable them to improve their production capabilities by infusing science and technology (S&T) interventions.
The assistance provided by SETUP includes equipment upgrades, food safety standards consultancies, production improvements, and product labelling.
Among those who benefitted under the SETUP is Fred B. Fredeluces of Barangay San Isidro, General Santos City.
He owns and manages the Greentropics Coffee Enterprise which now manufactures high quality Arabica and civet coffee in the region.
His venture into the coffee business was brought about by his immersion in the tribal communities – empowering them through various livelihood programs.
During his initial runs, he encountered several problems regarding his productions due to lack of better equipment to process the coffee beans.
As a result, the quality of the products suffered after his worn-out machine was not able to keep up with the production.
He then decided to seek the assistance of the DOST office in Region-12where he attended a series of training and seminars.
These include Manufacturing Productivity Extension Program consultancies, product labelling, laboratory analyses, and plant layouts, among others.
He was then able to receive more than P900,000 in equipment upgrading, which includea moisture tester, date stamper, automated coffee roaster, automatic filling machine, sorter, and coffee grinding machine.
Through the DOST’s assistance, the production of Fredelucesincreased, while the members of theB’laan tribal community that provides the raw coffee beans for his business was able to achieve a more decent life.
According to Fredeluces, he buys raw materials from the community at more than P3,000 per 100-kilo of coffee beans.
He said that this is much higher compared with the P1,000 per 100-kilo priceoffered by the former buyers.
“If we can promote and increase the local coffee processing and consumption, then the buying price of green coffee beans will be stabilized. The farmers will be motivated to plant coffee and increase their production,” Fredeluces said.
For the past several years, the Region-12 office of the DOST has already assisted 1,500 establishments under SETUP.
These resulted in the creation ofthousands of job opportunities for the members of the different communities in the region.
Most of those enterprises that benefitted are engaged on food manufacturing.
SETUP offers a complete package of assistance to enhance the capability of our SMEs in the country.
On the other hand, to provide access to products like the Greentropics coffee, the DOST formally launched its OneStore, the online store for DOST-assisted products across the country.
The DOST Onestore is a user-friendly online store which houses hundreds of various products under the SETUP, such as food, food supplements, handicrafts, and personal accessories, among others.
Through the Onestore, SETUP adopter SMEs can now reach and compete with the local and global markets./PN