KALINGA, July 22, 2022 – Processing sugarcane products will now be easier and faster for farmers from Barangay Balantoy, Balbalan with the sugarcane presser grant worth Php 320,000 from the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program under the FY 2022 Sugarcane Processing subproject.
Balantoy locals, among the Salegseg Indigenous People (IP), gears up in enhancing sugarcane production and processing to preserve basi and muscovado products.
Basi or sugarcane wine is a traditional beverage in the community and is used for many occasions. It is served during wakes of elderly people as tradition; and served after the bayanihan of locals during harvest seasons and buhos or cast in place concrete construction activities.
Muscovado or unrefined cane sugar is also a product of the Salegseg farmers and is a sweetener for coffees and traditional sticky rice cakes.
Only a few grow sugarcane in Balantoy, planted in the backyards with a limited harvest. The sugarcane farmers process using the traditional dapilan – a wooden mill drawn by a carabao to extract sugarcane juice.
In October 2020, the Bolo-Nawoy-Kilayon-Ligayan Farmers Association (BNKLFA), with 51 Salegseg Indigenous People (IP) members, was organized and registered under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the same year.
The BNKLFA received 26,066 pieces of sugarcane cuttings under the FY 2021 Sugarcane and Duck Production in November 2021 to enhance production since some of its members are small-scale sugarcane producers.
The group planted the cuttings in communal production areas in four sitios (Bolo, Nawoy, Kilayon, and Ligayan) totaling 2.60 ha and is expected to yield 5 tons of sugarcane by December 2022.
To further assist the BNKLFA, SAAD CAR awarded the group with an electric sugarcane presser on July 7, 2022 to hasten processing of produce and reduce labor cost.
The presser is currently under the care of BNKLFA Chairperson of Sitio Bolo and is to be transferred to the muscovado processing facility with cooling chamber also to be constructed and awarded by the SAAD CAR Program.
Being a newly organized group and is yet to start their enterprise, the FA also plans to tap DOLE for the provision of an additional unit of sugarcane presser which will be situated in between the sitios of Kilayon and Ligayan to minimize the transport of machinery.
“Dakkel ti pagyamyaman mi ti Department of Agriculture ta natungpalen ti arapaap mi nga makatulong laungay kadakami nga farmers ti organisasyon… Iti maintenance na, namnamaen yu nga agsuccess daytuy. Ket siguro nu adda produksyun na kayat mi man nga idawat kuma nga tumulong kayu nga mangi-advertise tapnu agbibyag daytuy nga natrabaho tayu,” Pablo Dongnga, BNKLFA Board of Director said.
(A big thanks to the Department of Agriculture since our dream has now come true that can greatly help the farmers of the organization…When it comes to its maintenance, rest assured that it will be achieved. And maybe when this starts to have production, may we also request your help to advertise [our products] as to attain the sustainability of our work).
Sugarcane production and processing training was given to the group in 2021 and training on processing, packaging, labelling, and marketing along with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is scheduled at the 3rd quarter of 2022 that can help improve their product through value addition and for the group to improve their marketing strategies.
The Local Government Unit of Balbalan, an active partner of the program in the project implementation, assured to help the farmers of the municipality in marketing their products that also give pride to the community.###
Writer: Sheena Phine P. Dayagon, DA-SAAD Kalinga Information Officer
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