Extracted anthocyanin produced at the Agricultural Bio-Products and Food Engineering lab at DMMMSU.
Ubi farmers and other stakeholders who want to make ubi powder and other related high-value products can make use of the Pilot Plant Scale facility put up by the UBE-Tech Project of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial University (DMMMSU) in Bacnotan, La Union.
This is one of the results of a research project funded by the USAID with more than P4-million under its STRIDE program. STRIDE stands for Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development. The research was undertaken by the Department of Agricultural Engineering of DMMMSU headed by Engr. Raffy Espiritu. The focus was on the purple yam industry in Northern Luzon.
With the STRIDE funding, Espiritu and his crew initiated the upscaling and establishment of viable, locally generated technology for value-added products as well as extraction of bioactive compounds from anthocyanin-rich varieties of Philippine purple yam (Dioscorea alata).
The research was particularly intended to address the recurring problems encountered by ubi farmers in the North such as seasonal production, overproduction and the rejection of farmers’ harvest that could not be readily absorbed by the existing market.
Espiritu said that levelling up the operation and business prospects of the ube enterprise will be achieved through the partnership with Chemfree Foods based in Bacnotan. The company will develop quality products that are all natural – no preservatives and additives.
UBE-Tech has undertaken characterization of anthocyanin extracts confirming that the physico-chemical properties and bioactivity of the natural color of ube is safe and fit for human consumption. So it can be commercialized for use by food manufacturing industries.
Espiritu said that GIS-based mapping was able to generate up-to-date and digitally accessible database of the ubi supply chain in Northern Philippines. The database has provided exact locations of existing ubi production areas within the target area of the UBE-Tech project. Based on the criteria used for identification of potentiality, La Union and Ilocos Sur towns have high to very high potential for ubi production expansion. Eight towns in La Union and seven in Ilocos Sur have very high potential for ubi production.
Espiritu stressed that active participation of stakeholders is a major pillar of UBE-Tech. DMMMSU, with UBE-Tech as implementer, signed partnership agreements with local governments of Lancauas, San Fernando City, PhilMech, Chemfree Foods and the Small Business Corporation attached to the Department of Trade and Industry.