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Press Release

January 26, 2018

DTI Antique taps Japanese volunteer to assist product dev for mSMEs

PhotoJapanese volunteer Michi Kurihara (right) works with msME associations in Antique to help them develop new product lines using flying fish as raw material

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Antique has tapped the assistance of a Japanese volunteer to develop new food products from Antique in a move to boost tourism and livelihood in the area.

Japanese volunteer Michi Kurihara, 30, was dispatched to the agency under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Volunteer Program in 2016.

A Food Science major from Tokyo University of Agriculture, Kurihara is working with nine micro, small and medium enteprises (mSME) associations in Antique to also help them develop new product lines or variances from existing processed food such as confectioneries using muscovado, tomato sauce, peanut cookies, and condiments for noodles with veggies using flying fish as raw material.

Antique can sell said condiments as ingredient in Japanese food that some local restaurants serve in Panay Island.

In Japan, flying fish is seen as a culinary staple which when fried can be an ingredient for ‘washoku' or Japanese dishes. This type when processed may also be used for seasonings as well as for various culinary dishes like Ramen or Udon.

Kurihara said since the species are endemic in Antique, the province can develop the product as an alternative source of income for fisherfolks.

With the Philippines' rising restaurant culture, the flying fish presents a niche for mSMEs in Antique. DTI and Kurihara are planning to hold cooking demonstrations in hotels and restaurants in Antique to explore new markets and generate feedback from potential customers.

"It's also very cheap to source flying fish in Antique and by establishing a cooperation mechanism among DTI, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and local government units, the flying fish could be further developed as a potential food product," she added.

"I hope to help the province improve food safety standards and connect mSME producers with relevant government agencies to support product development and marketing needs," said Kurihara.

"We appreciate the support of Kurihara in advocating for good manufacturing practices among food processors. She is a big help as we finalize the proposal for shared services facility for food processing and toll packaging compliant to FDA's food safety standards. This facility will help the micro entrepreneurs enter the mainstream market by complying with buyer requirements," said Ma. Arlene Galopo, senior trade and industry development specialist in DTI.

In a market where manufacturers compete by innovating products, Antique's flying fish products could well be a homegrown idea that could fly high.

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