MOUNTAIN PROVINCE, November 21, 2022 – Indigenous Applai sugarcane producers recorded a cumulative income of Php 246,144.00 from two (2) cycles of muscovado sugar production or locally known as ente, inakob (also called sinakob in other Philippine languages), and vinegar from the Sugarcane Production Project of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program.
Guiding the farmers to efficient and sufficient production for enterprising opportunities is in line with the goals of the program to assist and empower the grass-root communities such as the indigenous people (IP) living in remote areas. The E-Mabalite Tadian Farmers Association Incorporated (ETFAI) who are mostly engaged in farm labor service, crops, poultry and livestock raising is a recipient of the Sugarcane Production Project of the program. Currently composed of 167 IP farmers, the group who was organized in 2019 produces muscovado sugar or ente, inakob, and vinegar through the SAAD project.
Table 1. DA-SAAD Interventions to ETFAI on Sugarcane Production
Muscovado in the Mountain Province is rising as an alternative to commercial sugar for health-conscious consumers. This has long been used locally as a sweetening for native delicacies, such as the patupat and linapet of the town. As the public becomes more aware of the health and economic potentials of muscovado sugar, its demand progressively increases.
This pushes the DA-SAAD program in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to grant sugarcane livelihood projects from 2019 to 2022 to ETFAI in barangay Mabalite as there has been an existing traditional sugarcane production and processing in the area.
Barangay Mabalite is one of the isolated areas in Mountain Province and can be reached through a 4-hour hike from Barangay Masla. The beneficiaries used a total of 7.5 hectares for sugarcane plantation for this project.
The package of sugarcane input that the program provided to the ETFAI has established farm to market bridges for the muscovado sugar, as well as to other locally produced sugarcane products such as sugarcane vinegar and inakob. The association harvested their first cycle of sugarcane production in 2021. The products were sold within the community and to the neighboring barangays at Php 100.00 per kilogram (kg) for muscovado sugar and a pair of inakob, and Php 50.00 per liter for sugarcane vinegar.
Since there were only 25 members of ETFAI who availed sugarcane cuttings, the farmers initiated to share some cuttings to their neighbors who were not beneficiaries of the sugarcane production project that led to an increase in their production for the second cycle.
Table 2. Production and Income of ETFAI per Cycle
Most of the expenses were spent on labor, land preparation, product processing, and marketing.
The ETFAI is now moving forward to increasing production and improving processing from their income in order to establish more of their products in the market. The FA is also working for the construction of a processing center as they strengthen their partnership and linkages with the local government units and concerned regional line agencies, as well as to non-government organizations. ###
Writer: Flordeliza A. Afidchao, DA-SAAD Mountain Province Information Officer
DA-SAAD CAR Planning Officer
DA-SAAD Tadian Community Development Officer
DA-SAAD Tadian Project Development Officer
DA-SAAD Mountain Province Provincial Coordinator