19 September 2013 – A study group composed of 16 Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Directors from all administrative regions of the Philippines, and two representatives from chambers of commerce and industry in the Visayas, visited Germany from September 1 to 10. Their study tour exposed them to different aspects of the European, and specifically, the German processed food sector.
The group was accompanied in their 10-day study tour by five representatives of the AFOS Foundation for Entrepreneurial Development Cooperation led by Dr. Stephan Kunz. AFOS is a partner organization based in Cologne, Germany of the German Federation of Catholic Entrepreneurs (Bund katholischer Unternehmer e.V. BKU).
AFOS is cooperating with the DOST to develop the local Philippine food processing industry, especially small and medium size enterprises, to meet local demand as well as participate in the international processed food market. The study tour gave them the chance to learn about the German best practices and experiences that could be adopted by the food processing sector in the Philippines.
The DOST executives also called on Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe R. Natividad who briefed the visitors about the latest developments in Philippine-German bilateral relations, including cooperation for introducing elements of the dual training system in Germany into the evolving Philippine K-12 educational system. The German dual system merges academics with relevant on the job technical vocational education, making its young graduates well suited for actual labor market needs.
Ambassador Natividad assured the visiting DOST regional directors of the Embassy’s readiness to assist them in their programs, like linking their offices with German development cooperation institutions and actors, facilitating academic linkages between Philippine universities and German institutions for higher learning and research, and promoting the Balik Scientist program of DOST.
In Germany, the group met with organizations from the public and private sectors for discussion meetings and exchanges on development cooperation, academic exchanges, food safety, food laboratories, small scale technologies for waste management, and the German dual training system in food technology. Their visit brought them also to Wageningen in The Netherlands for exposure to new technologies on smart agriculture.
In Berlin, the group met with experts on European Union (EU) standards and guidelines in processed food products, as well as on trends in the industry. They held talks to generate ideas on how to introduce technological improvements in small Philippine food processing firms, and on qualification standards for workers in the food sector. END