Monday, November 7, 2016

Where is the “Cold Chain” Infrastructure Improvement within the Philippine Cold Chain (PCCP) Project?


The Philippine Cold Chain Project (PCCP) ($17 million, 5 year) project on its fourth year of implementation.  The PCCP’s two objectives are: 1) to increase agricultural productivity; and 2) to expand trade of agricultural products. The following In-Kind Grant Cold Storage/Cold Room projects provides a sample of “big ticket” projects that PCCP is involved with in the Caraga Region. These are either on-going or have been completed, namely:
Carmen Mango Packing House Project Cold Storage

In the Municipality of Carmen, Agusan del Sur, mango is considered a major crop and an income and investment generating industry in the municipality.  The local government unit has allocated funds to support the development of the mango industry in the area.  In fact, the LGU-Carmen has identified mango and its by-products as their priority product under the One Town One Product (OTOP) Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Carmen has some 629 hectares that are devoted solely to mango plantations. About half of these are fully developed and are already producing quality sweet mango fruits.  Majority of the harvested fruits are classified as “export grade” and are sold in volume in Cebu, and Manila.

Despite of this potential, most of the mango farmers are not able to fully benefit primarily due to lack of support facilities such as central packing house and cold storage for the harvested produce which are highly perishable when ripened of which the unavailability of processing center, central packing plant and cooling or chilling are critical part of preservation until brought to the target market. Any delays significantly reduce quality, shelf life and subsequently its value or price.

The facility will have 2 cold rooms with a total floor area of 112 M2 where mangoes classified as processed grade will be stored to prolong its shelf life and enable the year round production of dried mangoes, mango puree and mango juice by the Carmen Mango Processing Center.
Butuan Slaughterhouse Chilling Room

By investing in the chilling room equipment to improve the services of the slaughterhouse facility, the project can help ensure that clean and sanitary meat is delivered to the populace of Butuan City and to the adjacent areas in Agusan del Norte. This will benefit consumers as well as the meat market because the demand will increase once the quality of meat product is improved. The facility will thus create new income-generating opportunities for meat retailers, meat product wholesalers, processors, livestock traders, and even local eateries.

Winrock PCCP is supporting De Oro AJECC Inc., by providing refrigeration equipment for the 72 M2 chilling room and railings of approximately 80 linear meters.  Upon completion this will ensure that the carcass temperature will be reduced from around 40O degrees Celsius to 4O degrees prior to delivery to the end-users and meat will be clean and hygienic.  Winrock PCCP will provide insulated panels and chiller equipment as well.

Agri- Pinoy Trading Center (APTC) in Siargao Island Cold Room and Ante Room

The end-goal of the APTC is to transform a prevailing marketing system for agricultural and aqua marine products that is trader/middle man centered into one that empowers the basic producer groups (fishers and farmers) and ensures more favorable prices for their marketable quantities, in effect raising their incomes.

This PCCP assisted project to the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte will improve the food security status of the island which has been a deficit area in almost all agricultural and fishery products. The cold storage facility will lengthen the shelf life of the highly perishable marine products, meat and including vegetable and fruits that are being traded in the trading center by the local producers. The total floor area of the cold storage with anteroom is 48 square meters.

Surigao City Slaughterhouse Chilling Room

The installation of new refrigeration equipment at the cold storage of the Surigao Slaughterhouse will help the facility produce safe and hygienic meat carcasses.

PCCP will provide the 18.5 M2 cold room and ante room refrigeration equipment including A-Frames to improve the service delivery of the abattoir to the meat consuming public of Surigao City and the surrounding areas. Upon completion this will ensure that the carcasses temperature will be reduced from around 40O degrees Celsius to 4O degrees prior to delivery to the end-users.

CAMPUMARVENA Ice Plant & Cold Storage Cantilan and A&M Multi-Purpose Cooperative

The abundance of marine resources available for fishing and the production of marine products still keeps the majority of the producers not able to fully benefit from bounty that the sea provides due to the lack of post-harvest facilities like cold storage and ice. 
There is a need for an efficient cold storage and ice plant facility in the area to extend and preserve the quality of the marine products harvested. Marine products are highly perishable, and pre cooling is highly critical in keeping the freshness and quality of the products.
The PCCP intends to contribute to the development of the fisheries and marine sector in the Municipality of Cantilan and nearby towns by supporting the establishment of an ice plant and a 54 M2 cold storage facility each for both Cantilan and A&M Multi-Purpose Cooperative to support full commercialization of production and boosting local competitiveness.
By having a source of clean ice, where the catch or harvest can be immediately placed (i.e. having ice and fish boxes on the boats) will temporarily preserve the product until it reaches the mainland where it will be processed or stocked in a cold storage facility or be transported to the market.

Any delays in cooling fish significantly reduce the quality, shelf life and subsequently its value.  At worst the fish spoils and the products which will then be thrown away. Without the ice making and cold storage facilities, fisher folks are compelled to immediately sell their products at prices set by the middlemen. As such, despite of the potential high value of their marine products, producers remain as price-takers instead of price makers. 
Ralav Cold Storage

Ralav Corporation is a private enterprise that is engaged in the distribution of non-perishable and perishable products like processed food products, primarily from Nestle.  Aside from the distribution of products in the Caraga Region, Ralav Corporation is also expanding its capacity to cater to the cold storage requirements and the warehousing requirements of other food product locators from Manila and other areas with plans to lease out cold storage space including the provision of management and logistical services like handing and hauling.

Currently, there is no cold storage facility in Butuan City that offers a cold storage warehouse services that can accommodate the requirements of the various businesses.  The nearest area with these facilities is in Cagayan de Oro City which is approximately 250 kilometers distance from Butuan.

Ralav Corporation management decided to construct a cold storage facility with a floor area of 345 M2.  The design of the structure will have provisions and be compatible for the installation of insulated panels and cooling equipment.  Once completed, the cold storage facility storing space will be rented out to locators and producers for their perishable goods and products.
Pilmico Meat Cutting Plant Cold Room

Initial results of the implementation of the Swine Repopulation Project shows remarkable increase in hog production among producer group partners of PCCP, both in number of families engaged in swine raising, and in number of animals raised. However, small producers are not getting the full benefit of the increased production. Raisers still need to position themselves as producers that can guarantee consistency, not only in terms of product quality, but also in terms of supply regularity. The usual buyers, such as meat vendors and meat shops, as well as local meat fabricators supplying meat shops, convenience stores and mall-based groceries, are mainly being regularly supplied by traders with stocks coming mainly from outside of Caraga Region.

PILMICO and Happy Enterprise and Resources Inc., decided to put up a cutting plant project.  PILMICO presented the project to the PCCP for possible collaboration.  Since PCCP has two objectives: 1) to increase agricultural productivity; and 2) to expand trade of agricultural products, the PCCP participated by providing refrigeration equipment for the 372 M2 cutting plant cold rooms and main cutting area.

(Thanks to Mateo De Guzman for development of this compilation!)

Monday, September 26, 2016

First class slaughterhouse facility rises in Buenavista town

#CaragaAgriculture #PCCP #CleanFoodFacility #BuenavistaSlaughterhouse

September 22, 2016 was a momentous day in the history of the Philippine Cold Chain Project.  The morning was spent at the ribbon cutting for the now well-equipped municipal slaughterhouse in Buenavista. The new slaughterhouse is located just a few kilometers west of Butuan City.

When PCCP started working on slaughter house development, we made the rounds visiting local mayors that requested some assistance and wanted to collaborate.  The problem faced here in the Philippines is that each mayor and local government unit has the responsibility to deal with issues of public health and sanitation in their municipalities.  Part of this responsibility includes enforcement of rules and regulations regarding the slaughter of animals and assurance that this process is done in a humane and clean fashion.  Backyard slaughtering in the town is not legal and should be done in a slaughter house.

After evaluating the situation in Buena Vista, PCCP found out that it was not unlike most other municipalities that we visited.  First of all, the mayor, his engineer and local staff involved with the public market and slaughter house did not possess an in-depth knowledge on how to make a new slaughter house work.  The existing slaughter house, located a short distance from the wet market could be described as a black cement slab and table with a cast iron tub for scalding pigs.  All slaughtering was done on the floor of this totally inadequate facility.  To promote change and improvements, the LGU had built a new “slaughter” house in another location. We inspected the existing place where animals were butchered and, afterwards, visited the newly-built structure where the slaughtering will be done. On touring this new facility, it had the rudimentary design features of a pig and cattle slaughter facility.  However, the overall materials used showed that the contractor was familiar with building houses but not building slaughter facilities.  The floor tiles, drainage system, water system, roof, entrances for people and animals were mostly done incorrectly, if not all!

PCCP staff then proceeded to work with the LGU and mayor’s office to redesign the new facility. There were necessary design changes to turn it into a working facility.  The project had been able to locate an excellent contractor based out of Manila who specializes in slaughter plant construction.  This contractor had been able to take measurements, prefabricate equipment and deliver it to the site. The construction team lived on site until the installation was completed.  They also worked with the LGU to initiate necessary design changes and improvements. 

PCCP discovered, as well, that plans developed by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) for small scale slaughter facilities have not been adequately vetted.  One problem with these NMIS plans is in the design of the chute for the pigs when entering the plant.  PCCP changed this design to be just wide enough for the pig to walk in and also walls should be made of hollow block and not rails.   The ramp should also be on a gradual angle and not difficult for the animal to walk up.  In this way, stress on the livestock and handler is minimized.

The Philippines has good law on the books that mandates humane treatment of animals.  A properly designed facility should assure that the animal’s welfare is a primary concern.  We work with NMIS provincial unit to help raise awareness about what is illegal.  “Zorro” marking where the pig is marked with a razor blade on its hide for identification purposes should be stopped.  Stunning the pig with ineffective means that end up torturing the animal should be stopped as well.  In PCCP-assisted facilities, a stunner is installed.  After the pig walks up to the slaughter house, it is held in a specially designed chute.  The butcher rinses off the pig and then uses the stunner.  The stunner is a “y” shaped device that is placed behind the pig’s ears on its neck.  A foot pedal is used to start and stop and electric charge which stuns the pig to the point of unconsciousness.  There is no noise if this device is used correctly.  The chute then has a swinging door which allows easy access to the now stunned pig.  The pig then is “stuck” so that the blood drains and is caught in a sanitary container.  Pig blood is a very popular cooking ingredient here in the Philippines so it is saved.  Once this process is complete, the carcass is placed in the scalding tank.  This tank has been designed in such a way that it is easy to maintain the water at a scalding temperature without the presence of smoke from the fire in the slaughter house.  Above this tank there is an electric winch.  This winch, along with a stainless steel gambrel is used to pull the carcass out of the scalding tank in a way that keeps the butcher safe from the hot water and also helps him to avoid heavy lifting.  The carcass is now placed on a stainless table where it is scraped of all its hair.  People here like to have their pork with “skin on” unlike in the United States where the skin is usually removed.  Once scraped the gambrel is attached to a hook and this hook is on a roller which is placed on a rail.  This makes for easy movement of the carcass.  At this stage, the butchers may choose to “flame” the carcass as well which entails using a blow torch to burn of any remaining hair or fuzz on the skin.  The carcass is now open and the entrails are placed in a stainless container.  These entrails and the carcass are examined by the local LGU meat inspector.  The entrails are passed through an opening to a “dirty” area where they are further processed.  The butchers, who are wearing boots, aprons, hair net and face mask continue their work while standing on an elevated metal platform.  Once everything is clean and sorted, the carcass can be weighed, bagged in plastic or chilled (if a cooler is available).  At the end of the rail, the carcass is then transferred to a meat van and taken to the local market where the meat vendor cuts the carcass up in appropriate meat cuts.

The butchers have to wear proper equipment including rubber boots and pass through a foot bath and hand wash before they can start to work.  They should also have available a rest area and bathroom facility on site and be trained in proper procedures and sanitation techniques.  A knife dip should be used regularly to keep knives clean and sanitary.  Also the work areas should be kept clean.  In order to facilitate this, the proper design includes overhead water piping with hoses and pressure nozzles available in properly spaced intervals.  Outside the facility, there should be a wall with a gate, a cement “apron” around the slaughter house, and adequate water holding and water treatment facilities to handle the large amount of waste water generated by the facility.

In the case of Buenavista, there was a very nice ribbon cutting ceremony attended by all barangay captains and also members of the mayor’s management committee or SB.  The facility was properly blessed by the local priest and speeches were given.  This was followed by a typical meal that included roast pig.  The best part for me however was being able to see a project though to implementation.  It took longer than we expected but, in the end, PCCP and the LGU were able to come together and surmount all difficulties faced.  There is more to do at the new facility, including installation of a cattle line, cementing for the lot outside and putting up a wall and gate.  Still, Buenavista can now take pride of their 'AA' slaughter house facility where things are being done properly without any “on-floor” butchering and reduced stress for the pigs and people involved.