As part of its latest Livelihood Incubation Project (LIP), Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) intends to produce dried pineapple as a new value-added product .

Further, RTNMC, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), plans to engage in the production of competitive local products such as sweet potato chips, vegetable crackers and more.

And to scale up knowledge and technology on this venture, the Community Relations officers of RTNMC attended capacity building in Cotabato city to strengthen technology exposure in food processing in line with the mining company's livelihood enterprise incubation project through research and development.

Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG) officer Toting Buscaino said the project is part of the company’s study to strengthen the value-adding of pineapple in Bataraza in collaboration with the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO).

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) provided the municipal government with the dehydrator machine, which is currently being lent to the RTNMC.

He said that the study is still going on while they wait for the experts in the manufacturing industry to teach them how to properly process dried pineapple.

“Hiram siya [by RTNMC from DOST], ang unit ay to be turned over kay Bataraza para sa kanilang livelihood program. Ngayon, habang hindi pa siya ginagamit ni Bataraza ay lilipat siya muna sa facility ni RTNMC for test run at para ma-check ang efficiency ng unit,” he said.

In addition to turning them into vinegar, the project has another objective, which is to reduce the number of spoiled pineapples that are produced during the season. He added that the company is also inspired by the success stories from other provinces.

“Isa sa magandang potential nito ay magkakaroon ng malaking value-adding na makakatulong sa community kasi mas makaka-encourage tayo ng maraming farmer to plant ng pineapple,” he said.

With help from DOST and the Provincial Government of Palawan, the RTNMC wants to make pineapple production lasts. The production hopes to first fill up the local community and market.

“Malaking tulong kasi sa ngayon ay wala pa rin tayong nakikita na nagbebenta ng dried pineapple. Kung isi-search sa MIMAROPA ay wala pa na ganitong product, and Luzon. Mostly, ang meron nito ay Cebu at South Cotabato. Sa Luzon, wala pa masyado nagbo-boom na producer ng ganitong product,” he said.

He stated that they are still in the process of determining the appropriate heat level for the production process, but that they have brought some of the products that were produced from the test run to Baguio to exhibit.

The project is under the supervision of the Development and Mining Technology & Geosciences component of the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).

Buscaino also stated that, in addition to dried pineapple, they intend to produce sweet potato chips and vegetable crackers. RTNMC is working to overcome the challenge of introducing a value-added product to the Bataraza market.

“Hindi pa masyadong pamilyar lalo na ang local ng Bataraza, hindi sila sa pamilyar sa dried na pineapple na i-introduce mo sa kanilang panlasa. Secondly, ang ating equipment ay medyo malayo sa supplier natin na nasa Manila,” he said.

He added that the company intends to prepare the products in early 2023 and be a part of the token provided by RTNMC.

This is a collaboration between RTNMC, DOST and the local government units in Bataraza. The program is part of RTNMC’s research and development in line with the implementation of the Development and Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG) component under the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).

SDMP is mandated by DENR-MGB relative to Republic Act. 7942 also known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

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