BICOL’S pili nut, one of the region’s most famous products sought after for its sweet taste, crunchiness and high nutritional content, is all geared up for sweeter prospects with the blessing and inauguration of the Naga City Pili Processing and Packaging Center on May 19.
Housed at the right wing of the Jesse M. Robredo Coliseum in Barangay Triangulo, Naga City, the facility is a collaboration among the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, City Government of Naga, and other public and private entities.
Speaking at the inauguration rites, DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said that the service facility is targeting the region’s small entrepreneurs.
Through its array of services and equipment, the Center aims to lift the safety and quality standards of a product which has long catapulted Bicol into one of the Philippines’ foremost tourist destinations known for its natural and culinary attractions.
Included in its range of food processing equipment are a stainless steel stationary oven, cooking vat, stainless grinder, blanching vat, testa remover, peeling table, draining sifter, electric dough mixer, and induction sealer, among others.
“Pili makers can use the facility to meet safety standards,” said Montejo.
Montejo added that while the processing and packaging center focuses its services on small-scale pili processors, it is also developing among them the culture of self-sustainability instead of dependency. A large number of families in the region are engaged in the making and selling of various pili-based products such as candies, tarts and cakes.
Meanwhile, Naga City Mayor John Bongat said “the partnership symbolizes the importance of capacitating and empowering small enterprises in the region.”