Processed papaya is the registered One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) of Nagbukel town in Ilocos Sur.
Various processed-food and semi-processed products are produced providing additional livelihood and income to its residents.
In 2021, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Ilocos Sur gave an opportunity to the people of Nagbukel to produce other processed-food products.
But this time, these products are made from the juicy, fleshy, and delicious mango fruit.
Mayleen Manzano, mango grower and president of the Taleb Ladies Mango Processors Association (TLMPA) in Nagbukel town, said there are numerous backyard mango growers in their community and they earn a lot by selling them in the local market.
However, when the DOST visited the said town and saw how abundant mangoes in different variants such as native, Indian, Cambodian, and Hawaiian are in Nagbukel, the DOST came up with an idea to train residents to produce products out of mango fruits.
This was a part of the activities of the agency in connection to its Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology program.
“Dahil sa DOST, nalaman namin na marami palang produkto na magagawa mula sa bunga ng manga,” Manzano said in an interview.
The DOST conducted a livelihood training on mango processing to some 25 women mango growers in the community.
The DOST then helped them organize the TLMPA from the participants of the said training.
The organization started to produce mango wine, mango jam, mango puree, and mango pastillas.
Manzano said they sold these products around Nagbukel town.
Recently, the DOST awarded processing equipment and packaging assistance to the members of the organization.
The TLMPA, along with the Mapanit Squash Association (MSA) and Bessang Food Processors Association (BFPA) of Burgos town, received processing equipment such as stainless tables with sink and packaging supplies for their mango and squash products.
Two stainless tables with sink, chest freezer, heat gun, wine bottles, and jam bottles were awarded to TLMPA, while two stainless tables with sink, heat gun, impulse sealer, wine bottles, and jam bottles were given to BFPA.
The MSA accepted a stainless table, stainless table with double sink and an impulse sealer, according to the DOST.
Manzano expressed her gratitude to the DOST for this equipment.
“Thank you very much DOST for providing us with processing equipment and packaging materials that we can use to improve and upgrade our production, as well as for all of your sacrifices and unwavering support for our barangay, particularly for our association, the Taleb Ladies Mango Processors Association,” Manzano said.
With these additional skills and equipment, Manzano expects a strengthened partnership with the DOST and the TLMPA for additional training and assistance for them to continue their processed mango production.
Meanwhile, Engineer Jordan Abad, officer-in-charge of the DOST in Ilocos Sur, said the DOST will continue providing assistance not just to the TLMPA but to other associations that need skills training and community empowerment through science and technology.
"Our program does not end with training, we want to help you boost your production, enhance its quality, package your product and sell it not only within your municipality but also outside the municipality. These equipment will help you attain these objectives,” Abad said. (JCR/AMB/JMCQ/PIA Ilocos Sur)