By Florde Liza L. Alida/DOST 1-Project Assistant I
After passing the qualifying requirements for the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 1 granted an amount of Php250,000.00 to the Luzon Mushroom Agriculture Cooperative (LMAC) through its Chairman, Onofre Q. Macaraeg Jr.
With the aim to increase the production on mushroom-based products, the amount will be used for the acquisition of production equipment that include 1 unit noodle making machine, mechanized oven, food dehydrator, spiral mixer, and 2 units stainless tables.
The LMAC is the only producer of cultured mushroom and mushroom-based products in Aponit District, San Carlos City, Pangasinan. It started operating as an association in 2014 supplying noodles with mushroom, mushroom kropek, mushroom besuto, mushroom fruiting bags, mushroom soy sauce, powdered mushroom, and fresh mushroom to public markets and pasalubong centers of Pangasinan and nearby provinces.
LMAC was registered as a cooperative in April 2016. At present, the cooperative has more than 50 members from Pangasinan and other provinces in the region. It is continuously producing mushroom- based products but Mr. Macaraeg hopes to increase the cooperative’s productivitythrough the DOST-SETUP assistance.
Mr. Macaraeg stressed that the LMAC operation is now easy through the new machines through the project. He also said that aside from improving the productivity of the cooperative, they also aim to provide more opportunities such as employment and increased rate of the employee. At present, the cooperative is operating with an estimated asset of around Php500, 000.00 and the officers vowed to work for improvement and better services through the SETUP interventions.
The supplier of the facilitieswill train the cooperative on the operation, maintenance and trouble shooting of the various equipment. DOST assured the coop members to further provide technical assistance on mushroom product shelf life testing, microbial and nutritional analysis as well as enhancement of the product label and packaging. (Florde Liza L. Alida/DOST 1-Project Assistant I)