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DOST's SETUP helps ease down MSME's road to success

Photo Courtesy By DOST 12-SarGen Provincial Director Forester Nabil Hadji Yassin

There’s probably no better way to take the road to success other than having to gamble on hard work and perseverance coupled with some business acumen.

This is precisely what sole owner of VL Food Products, Lorna Mosquite, a fish vendor who owns a stall at a public market in General Santos City, had to experience to become a successful business woman.

The now famous company VL Food Products started when Mosquite was “cooking something for her children to eat and decided to make them pork chorizo and fry some cuts of tuna.”

All of a sudden, according to a DOST briefer, this was when “a great idea pops out in her mind that the meat of tuna can be a main ingredient in making chorizo.”

And after a series of experimenting and innovating some delicious recipes out of tuna, VL Food Products, evolved from a small company to one of the most successful food companies in Soccskasargen today. 

From that time on, the company continues to take off to this day, all thanks to the hard work and perseverance of Mosquite.

But of course, this comes also with her business sense kicking in, she availed the Department of Science and Technology's Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (DOST-SETUP) to further enhance her small business.

DOST-Sarangani and General Santos City Provincial Director Forester Nabil Hadji Yassin says DOST-SETUP serves as a "strategy" to motivate and support the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to adopt a technology and some innovations for them to be able to improve the efficiency of their operations, productivity, as well as their competitiveness in terms of products and services.

Yassin and his team recently provided a technology needs assessment (TNA) to VL Food Products, an existing DOST SETUP-assisted tuna processing company based in General Santos City Fish Port Complex in Tambler.

Leading the team, Yassin said VL company, is applying for a second-phase of technology assistance from the DOST XII.

He then explained that the TNA is important as initial step being done by DOST to determine and validate the immediate technological needs of DOST-SETUP applicants, which are MSMEs.

VL, according to him, is eyeing to renew its partnership with the DOST XII for the upgrade of the company’s siomai processing, particularly the acquisition of automatic siomai forming machine, bowl cutter, and other essential equipment.

Photo Courtesy By DOST 12-SarGen Provincial Director Forester Nabil Hadji Yassin

In 2016, it was able to get DOST’s approval for the acquisition of equipment for tuna processing under SETUP in the amount of P384,800.

VL operations manager Chique Abajero is thankful to DOST for its myriad of assistance. Through DOST, the company was able to acquire the necessary equipment for tuna processing and became a beneficiary of manufacturing productivity extension or MPEX program.

It also enabled the company to participate in several food safety program trainings like the current good manufacturing practices, hazard analysis critical control point, packaging and labeling, industry dialogues, marketing and trade fairs and food expo, among other-related technology-transfer activities.

From only eight employees, the company now grew to 80-90 employees with a monthly income of P450,000 from a previously P50,000 a month and with gross sales of P1.1 million to P50-55 million a year after the intervention they received from DOST.

During the DOST project visit to VL in October last year, Abajero said that the tuna they are using as main ingredient for their products are fresh catch they buy from local fishermen, emphasizing then the importance of giving back to the communities especially now that their company is thriving and successful.

Yassin also noted, that after the intervention, the company’s product lines and services have hugely improved from originally just five tuna products to 42 value-added which now include chorizo, embutido, lumpia, nuggets, mini balls, siomai, sisig, hamon de bola, among others.

Photo Courtesy By DOST 12-SarGen Provincial Director Forester Nabil Hadji Yassin

With the help of DOST and VL’s equipment and machinery well in-place, the company can now produce some 300,000 value-added tuna products, penetrating the Muslim communities in Soccsksargen and even the Muslim world since it has espoused on producing certified halal food products.  

VL tuna food products can also be found in some leading supermarkets in the country as it continues to roll out its expansion for a wider market.

From a previously P2 million worth of asset, the company now boasts a total asset value of P10 million and counting with the possible grant or purchase of new assets.

As his guidance to his senior staff, DOST XII Regional Director Engr. Sammy Malawan made it a point to ensure that his directive is in full effect to readily help MSMEs in the region to further improve their products through the agency’s “science, technology and innovation assistance.” (CTA/PIA SarGen)

About the Author

Catherine Apelacio

Information Officer III

Region 12

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