Four MS Food Technology students of the Visayas State University (VSU) joined the annual Japanese Factory Visit tour for development of Food Value Chain (FVC) in the ASEAN held on September 4 – 10, 2016. They were Maria Norfrelij J. Cuadra, Ria Jayne A. Tabinas, Brayan A. Bornias, and Melogen B. Bandalan. They were accompanied by Dr. Lorina A. Galvez of the Department of Food Science and Technology in VSU, and Ms. Maria Helen P. Seco, a staff from the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI).

The Japanese Factory Visit Tour is a one-week scholarship for nominated grantees from ASEAN member states. It is intended to complement the lessons learned by students in classroom lectures and provide practical and in-depth knowledge on high-technology Food Value Chain in Japan. The scholarship program is aimed at promoting human resource development in food-related areas through partnership with universities in the ASEAN Region. Funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF), it was launched in 2014 to celebrate the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan friendship and cooperation. Aside from the participants from VSU, students from four other top universities in Asia also joined the tour. The other Brunei Darussalam (Brunei); Bogor Agricultural University (Indonesia); Yezin Agricultural University (Myanmar); and, Universiti Putra Malaysia (Malaysia).

The tour participants visited eight food companies in Japan, including Fuji Oil, Takii Seeds, Pasona, Aeon mall, Yamata Shoyu, Yoshinoya, Ota Market, Ajinomoto and Kokubo Logistics. During the tour participants were asked to observe the operations of each of the food companies. Representatives from each country were requested to prepare a report on what they learned during the tour and about the Food Value Chain in their respective countries. Report presentation was held in the afternoon of September 9 (Friday), and the VSU team brought honor to the university when they were accorded the Best Output Presentation Award.