MOUNTAIN PROVINCE, November 21, 2022 – With the aim to increase and upgrade processing and marketing of muscovado sugar in Mabalite, Tadian, the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program, Mountain Province trained 21 sugarcane farmers from the indigenous Applai tribe on Muscovado Processing, Labeling, and Marketing with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in partnership with the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAg) of Tadian.
The E-Mabalite Tadian Farmers Association Incorporated (ETFAI) was organized in 2019 aiming to provide production means, and empower indigenous people (IP) community members by capacity and resource building through agricultural livelihood projects to create sufficient income.
The FA was composed of 25 officers and members who work as farm laborers, small producers of rice and High Value Crops (HVC), and native chicken and pig raisers. Others are also into the traditional processing of vinegar, inakob (also called sinakob in other Philippine languages), and the muscovado sugar, locally known as ente.
The demand for muscovado sugar is steadily increasing due to its health benefits, and with the prior experience of the Applai tribe in processing ente, inakob, and vinegar, the Sugarcane Production Livelihood Project was requested by the FA which the DA-SAAD Program provided. Moreover, the 5-day Muscovado processing training held from October 11 to 15, 2022 as part of the said project taught systematic procedures and processes to improve and ensure clean, safety, and quality product manufacturing techniques and strategies based on food safety and quality standards.
During the training, Mr. Percival O. Awingan, Agriculturist and DA-SAAD Focal Person of Tadian, introduced Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and its guidelines as one of the measures to produce quality products, adhering to food safety for the benefit of both the processors and consumers.
Meanwhile, Ms. Merced Ayomen, Agriculturist from Tadian, discussed product labelling and packaging as a technology on protecting products from possible contaminants during the distribution, storage, and use. She also emphasized that packaging and labelling is a significant asset to sales opportunities. Aside from increasing product appeal, labelling also provides the most important and relevant information that the customers must know.
The series of lectures was coupled with hands-on training where participants experienced sugarcane harvesting and processing. Among their hands-on activities includes making a cooking chamber out of soil, clay, and stones; harvesting sugarcane; extracting the sugarcane juice or locally known as “dapil”; and cooking, where participants produced 20 kilograms (kg) of muscovado out of a 100 liter (L) sugarcane juice, and 18L sugarcane vinegar.
Armando Ayomen, Mabalite Barangay Captain, encouraged the participants to sustain the production and bayanihan in their quest of making Barangay Mabalite a successful sugarcane producer area someday.
“Natapian nan inmula mi ay unas ya nan trainings, wada nan naisoro ken dakami ay gawgawis ay ikkan mi mang aywan dasnan inyali yo ken dakami,” said Lucille Dapios, ETFAI Secretary.
(We have planted more sugarcane, and with the training, we learned good practices on how to manage these [projects] that you gave us.)
While the ETFAI is reaching more customers as far as the nearby provinces of Mountain Province, they ensure that their products are always available in the local markets.
With the group’s reliance on manual sugarcane processing, Ms. Dapios is looking forward to more interventions such as the improvement of processing center and availing a cooking chamber and storage facility to secure the quality of the products. This year, the DA-SAAD will be providing more processing equipment and machineries such as the muscovado press with a cooking chamber in order to enhance the quality and manufacturing processes of the products. ###
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