KALINGA, November 28, 2021 – The YMabaca Farmers Association (YMFA) from Balbalan, Kalinga aims to process sugarcane to basi and muscovado sugar after attending the Department of Agriculture Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program’s production and processing training.
A total of 132 members of the group saw the potential of producing basi, a wine made with pressed sugarcane juice, and sugar as a community-based enterprise. Also, community elders in Balbalan are known to be the best sugarcane winemakers.
The people of Barangay Mabaca had long been cultivating sugarcane in about 1.5-hectare (ha) land but through time, fewer farmers were getting involved with its production and processing.
It was in October 2021 when the YMFA received the sugarcane cutting intervention worth Php 400,000 under the FY 2021 Sugarcane Production Project to an estimated 2ha land.
The farmers planted the cuttings instantaneously. They expect to harvest from May to November 2022 from their accumulated backyard production area of two hectares.
For the training, existing sugarcane plants in Mabaca were harvested to be processed for demonstration. Eduardo Tongdo and Fidel Apaling from the local barangay unit were the resource speakers for basi– and muscovado-making.
Appalling said, “Dayta panagmula ti unas ti tunggal maysa nga beneficiary ket dakkel nga accomplishment, gumaget dagiti farmers. Ken mayat ta at least matulungan dagiti farmers nga mangimarket iti basi da ta they are one of the best basi makers in Balbalan (That sugarcane planting of every beneficiary is a big accomplishment, the farmers will become hardworking. Also, it is good that the farmers will have a hand in marketing the basi as they are among the best basi makers in Balbalan.”
The beneficiaries were thankful for the project as it is the first time that sugarcane processing training had been conducted in the barangay.
Farmers realized the importance of local sugarcane products (e.g. basi) over the costly commercial ones. They also saw the benefit of reviving the products and preserving their culture and tradition to benefit not just the organization but also the whole community.
About the organization
The YMFA is composed of 132 households from Barangay Mabaca in Balbalan earning below the poverty threshold who are involved and are interested in farming.
Barangay Mabaca is a far-flung and mountainous area blessed with large agricultural land of about 2,453 hectares, the largest land among the other barangays of the municipality. Being the remotest and mountainous barangay, it can be reached by foot through a 3-4 hours hike from the last accessible road by vehicles.
Aside from the sugarcane production, free-range chicken, vegetable, and swine inputs were also provided to the group for other potential ventures. ###
Writer: Sheena Phine P. Dayagon, Information Officer I – Kalinga
Photo sources: DA-SAAD CAR, Kalinga