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Improved packaging helps small enterprises in Samar

March 19, 2010


November 20, 2009, 3:50pm

What can good packaging do to your product? To the micro-entrepreneurs of Samar provinces, good packaging brings more than just enhancing the market value of their product. It also gives them the opportunity to become competitive as it results in higher product quality and longer shelf life.

This was proven by Norma dela Cruz who owns and manages NC Dela Cruz Home of Pili Delicacies in Brgy. Kinabranan, Allen, Northern Samar. She is among the processors of delicacies made from pili nut which is claimed to be abundant in Eastern Visayas.

During a recent visit to her production area by Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro and regional officials from the Department of Science and Technology, she proudly showed her products whose quality were improved through the adoption of mechanized processing equipment and appropriate packaging materials and labeling under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

In January 2005, SETUP enabled Norma to improve her product package by using food-grade packaging material, air-tight seal, and attractive and proper label. She also acquired equipment such as auto gas oven, stainless steel trays, 5-kilogram capacity mixer, kneader, grinder, sealer and deep oil fryer.

These developments helped increase the productivity of Norma’s business by up to 20 percent and allows her to maintain 6 workers which increases up to 30 during peak season.

Her product range has also increased. She now produces hopia de pili, pili tart, mazapan, delicias, polvoron de pili, yema, and rosquillos. All these have a stable shelf life of 1 month except for yema and mazapan which last only for 2 weeks. She also makes pili crunch which is best consumed in three months after production date.

With this venture, Norma requires an average of 30 kilos of pili nuts (with shells removed) per month during regular season, and about 45 kilos during peak season when the demand is high. Norma sells her product locally but she has been actively participating in trade fairs where she gets the chance to penetrate new markets.

Norma sources her pili nut requirement from Allen and nearby towns. She buys fresh pili (with pulp) at P10 per 25 pieces and dried pili nuts (with shell) at P60 per ganta. When local supply runs short, Norma buys pili kernels (with shells already removed) from outside at P350 per kilo.
By the way, the local government of Allen is now embarking on the establishment of pili scion grove and nursery to address shortage of supply and boost local production of this valuable crop.

On one hand, Salvacion Pepito of Calbayog Fresh Tinapa located at Brgy. Capoocan, Calbayog City, also benefits from the improvement of packaging system implemented through SETUP.

Tinapa or smoked fish is Calbayog City’s One Town One Product commodity. And Salvacion thought that improving product quality through appropriate packaging system could make Calbayog Fresh Tinapa more competitive.

Today, her tinapa comes in vacuum packaging which is more hygienic and prolongs the shelf life of tinapa up to six months from the usual 3 days to 2 weeks. She uses hasa-hasa or buraw and substitutes it with bangus when the market price of hasa-hasa is high. A pack of less than half kilo sells at P100.

Data from DoST show that SETUP increased production volume and sales by 25% as well as employment from 4 to 6 workers.

Salvacion laments that there is a need to reconstruct her production area as this is made of light construction materials. The problem with this is that she has to temporarily stop her production whenever the weather is bad.

Another thankful technology adoptor is Gina Colinayo of Brgy. Mercado, Villareal, Samar. She is the owner of Gina Colinayo Cakes and Pastries which specializes on the traditional pastries that the old folk in Villareal used to make.

Among these old pastries is the salvaro which uses sapal or spent coconut meat which Gina was able to preserve and repackage using the mechanized processing equipment and appropriate packaging materials and label techniques through SETUP in 2007. She also has other local pastries that use rice flour aside from wheat flour.

And just like Norma and Salvacion, Gina’s enterprise also increased productivity by 20%, increased employment generated from 5 to 7, and improved facility, which, of course translated to increased income.

All these women entrepreneurs say that production is not the only aspect to look at in order to prosper. More aggressive marketing strategy is another key, which is exactly what they are doing today.

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