DA-QARES’ cacao wine is 2018 NTF’s best product

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Besting 80 product entries for this year’s 14th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition (NTF) Best Product was the cacao wine from the Department of Agriculture-Quezon Agricultural Research Experiment Station (DA-QARES).

Made from the seed pulp – a part of the fruit that it often regarded as waste, the cacao wine’s sleek packaging and labeling, exceptional product quality, and most especially its local and international market potential and competitiveness impressed the judges paving for its win at the forum’s annual product competition.

DA-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 2’s MangBean soup product landed on second place, while DA-RFO 11’s adlay products came third.  MangBean soup is one of the region’s product lines made from soybean. It is considered a highly-nutritious instant soup as soybean contains healthy amounts of protein, fiber, and ash, and has lower phytic acid than most legume crops. Meanwhile, adlay-based products instant mami is packed with adlay grains in native chicken flavor while the Adlay Pao is made from adlay flour with asado-flavored mushroom filling.

Finishing as fourth and fifth placers were the NutriConvy and Veggie Chips products developed by DA-RFO Caraga and 5, respectively. The NutriConvy products include muffin mix, adlay caldo, and pancake mix packed with adlay, squash, malunggay, and soybean as the main ingredients, with no preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors. The Veggie Chips, on the other hand, are a healthy alternative to junk food snacks such as chips or chichirya. These nutritious chips come in five flavors: ampalaya, squash, malunggay, tomato, and carrots.

Special awards were also given to various products that may have failed to meet the criteria but their ingenuity and uniqueness, one can’t just set aside. Sheep wool products and fossilized cacao leaves from DA-RFO CALABARZON; Malunggay pods decorations and cyperus grass products from DA-MIMAROPA; raffia grass products from DA-RFO 5; and the aloe vera-based products from Rescue Environment through Greening Outreaches, a Non-Government Organization based in Quezon province bagged this year’s special awards.

The NTF’s Best Booth competition also gives recognition to participating exhibitors who displayed creativity, originality, and uniqueness in designing their respective booths. The winners are: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries – Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM), first place; DA-MIMAROPA, second place; DA-RFO 1, third place; DA-RFO 5, fourth place; and DA-Caraga, fifth place. DA-RFO 2 and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Office 2 also received special awards for the Best Booth category.

All entries for the Best Product category were evaluated based on the following criteria: creativity and uniqueness; relevance to food security; health and wellness; good product attributes; packaging and labeling; and market potential and competitiveness. For the Best Booth category, the following were the criteria: booth design (originality, uniqueness, creativity, use of indigenous materials, organization of display); booth contents (showcase of BAR-funded projects and presence of knowledge materials); and staff presentation (fully knowledgeable about the projects and products being showcased).

All winners received R&D grants from the bureau under its National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP). ### (Daryl Lou A. Battad)

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