Members of the Mabini Tablea Food Producers (MABLEA), a women’s association in Mabini, Batangas, was trained on bread and pastry production alongside the celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8-10.
The training upskilled the women members of the association and provided them with additional product lines aside from their tablea-based products developed by the Institute of Food Science and Technology – University of the Philippines Los Baños (IFST-UPLB), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Batangas way back in 2018.
The association has been known in the locality as the sole producer of tablea-based products such as tablea chocolate spread, tablea-peanut bar or tabnut, tablea flan (tablea-flavored leche flan), tablea-peanut butter spread, and tablea chocolate candies, among others. Since then, they have also been braving to spearhead the revitalization of the tablea industry in the Municipality of Mabini, Batangas through their community enterprise supported by the Soroptimist International of Mabini (SI-Mabini), a volunteer service organization for women, the Local Government Unit of Mabini (LGU-Mabini), and DOST-Batangas.
Their new venture on bread and pastry production is expected to generate additional income for the association since there is a niche market demand for bread and pastries in the locality. Of course, the association’s roasted, ground, and molded nibs of fermented pure (100%) cacao beans called “tablea” were still incorporated into some of the product outputs during the training to retain their distinctive market identity.
The production technologies and training transferred to MABLEA included pandesal, burger buns, chiffon cake, tablea chocolate moist cake, tablea brownies, and tablea cookies processing. These technologies were again developed and provided by IFST-UPLB. Romel M. Felismino, University Researcher II of IFST-UPLB, facilitated the technology transfer training which comprised of the discussion on product formulation and execution of standard processing procedures.
A refresher seminar on current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) was also provided to the association as a component of the technology transfer training. John Maico M. Hernandez, DOST-CALABARZON Food Safety Team member, facilitated the discussion. A review of the existing food safety practices implemented in the association’s production facility was done to evaluate their compliance. Points for improvement were given to the members of the association as a prelude to their intention to apply for a License to Operate from the Food and Drug Administration.
MABLEA is a recipient of the DOST-Batangas Grants-in-Aid Community-based Project in 2018. Similar to other enterprises, market demand for their products at the height of this pandemic had declined and their income was just enough to pay their monthly bills including the rental of their facility. To help them get through these challenging times, LGU-Mabini opened one of its buildings to accommodate MABLEA for free. SI-Mabini, on the other hand, proposed this new business venture on bakery and pastry production for the association and received funding from the SI-Batangas Premier of Mariverde District, which they used in acquiring bakery oven and baking plates, among others. Technology transfer expenses were shouldered by DOST-Batangas. According to SI-Mabini, this new product line would help MABLEA double its income to stay afloat in this time of the pandemic.
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