The king of culinary spice, once processed, is twice its price.
Reeling into ginger farming, small-scale cultivators of Stone Cave United La Union Farmers Association (SCULFA) in San Remigio, Antique bolstered their enterprise venture by planting, propagating, and processing their produce into powdered tea called salabat, a popular hot drink made from boiled fresh or powdered ginger.
Ginger, coined as luy-a in some major variations of Visayan language, thrives in all parts of the country and is a common ingredient in local dishes. This fibrous and spicy plant, having a long shelf-life can be consumed fresh, pickled, preserved, or powdered.
For decades, this root crop has claimed popularity as it is loaded with antioxidants known for its health and dietary benefits. The local market for ginger has grown due to its usefulness as a spice, flavoring, and in medical practice.
In the Philippines, the volume of ginger production in Western Visayas reached an average growth rate of 1.5% from 2015-2019 with a 5.3% share of the country’s total ginger output. (PSA, 2020)
The production of this plant does not really meet its current demand, which can be attributed to the many uses of ginger in the country. Thus, the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program provided ginger interventions to SCULFA to support their existing livelihood as ginger growers, and by-product producers.
About Stone Cave United La Union Farmer’s Association (SCULFA)
Originally called Tigbagacay, San Remigio municipality is where Barangay La Union is located. Locals had seen the contribution and impact of government projects which prompted them to organize into a cooperative so they could avail of the same and eventually, provide job opportunities to the member-residents.
On March 17, 2016, SCULFA was organized and registered as a legitimate workers’ association with 45 members under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Presently, the group has 97 members with at least 50 active ones, mostly aged 30-59 years.
From then on, they were granted postharvest facilities by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) through its KALAHI-CIDSS project and received further assistance from other government programs, including SAAD.
Apart from the permanent and food crops grown in the area, locals also plant commercial crops such as bananas, peanuts, monggo, vegetables, and ginger, among others. Before, these crops were only sold as is after harvest and not further processed for value addition.
With the aid extended by various government agencies, farmer-producers in the area now offer a variety of local products ranging from banana chips, sweet potato chips, turmeric tea, taro chips, peanut butter, and bandi (sugar candy with peanuts).
The group processes half their ginger yield, and the other half will be reserved and shall be used as planting materials for the next cropping. The powdered tea is then sealed in a ziplock stand-up pouch and sold at Php 100 for 10 grams and Php 220 for 200 grams. Moreover, 10 percent of the group’s income is remitted to their savings account.
Miguelina Villasor, SCULFA President, shared in an interview, “Sini nga tuig, isa kami sa nabugayan sang proyekto ka SAAD, amo ang pagpananom kang luy-a. Tungod ang amon asosasyon kamaan na mag proseso sang ginger tea, nakabulig guid ra sa mga kababainhan na wala ti ubra. Kung turukon mo, wala ti pirde sa amo ja nga proyekto.”
(This year, we were among those who were granted the SAAD ginger production project. Because our association already knows how to process ginger tea, it helped the women in our community who had no jobs. If you think about it, this project has no loss.)
Inclusion in the SAAD Program
In 2020, SCULFA was identified as a SAAD beneficiary and received the following interventions under the FY 2021 Ginger Production Project (Table 1).
Table 1. Ginger Production Interventions received by SCULFA
|Complete Fertilizer (14-14-14)||
|Muriate of Potash (0-0-60)||
On March 25, 2022, 200 kilograms (kg) of ginger rhizomes were delivered to the association in support to their existing production, supplemented by draft animals, farm tools and materials inputs delivered in May.
The main planting area of La Union accounts for 0.00009% of the 33,650 hectares (ha) total land area of the whole of San Remigio. The group cultivated the rhizomes in their 300-square meter sloping communal garden and small patches of land owned by its members.
The production started a month after receiving the inputs expecting harvest after 9 months. The members frequent the area, following a rotational schedule, and do manual weeding every weekend to minimize weed growth and the weeds plucked are piled as compost.
Given that the production area of the FA is a sloping area, at least 75% of their standing crops planted at the bottom part of the garden were severely drowned when Typhoon Paeng struck in October this year. Notwithstanding the losses, the group decided to initially harvest an 11kg yield. They hope to harvest at least half a ton by January next year.
As to marketing, they have a consolidation center or bagsakan located in San Jose, Antique, where all souvenirs, native delicacies, and pasalubong products are sold.
Writer: Cedie C. Bataga, DA-SAAD Region 6 Information Officer
Source: Christine Joy V. Teodoro
Philippine Statistics Authority. (2020). Crops Statistics of the Philippines 2015-2019, pg 90. Retrieved from https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/Crops%20Statistics%20of%20the%20Philippines%2C%202015-2019.pdf
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