Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moscovado processing Training (photos)

pictures were taken during the first provincial moscovado training on May 16-19, 2008.

Kalinga communities train for muscovado production
Why spend much on commercial sugar if we can produce our own right within the community? This is especially true to interior communities in Kalinga province, whose limited cash earnings are spent on sugar as coffee sweetener. A case study on the sugar consumption of Brgy. Mabaca in Balbalan municipality revealed that a household has an average consumption of 2-3 kilos sugar every week or 8-12 kilos every month, which costs P50 per kilo. This means that a family consumes 96 to 144 kilos of sugar yearly or an annual expenditure of P4,800 to P7,200 on sugar alone. Annual expenditure on commercial sugar, with a barangay with a 145 household-population was computed to P696,000to P1,044,000, an expenditure which could otherwise be saved to serve as potential source of capital to increase tools of production for muscovado sugar production.
Challenged with the situation, the Timpuyog ti Mannalon iti Kalinga (TMK) or the provincial peasant alliance under the Cordillera Peoples Alliance-Kalinga chapter embarked on a program to increase sugarcane production in their respective communities and process muscovado, a granulated molasses as an alternative to commercial sugar.
Muscovado sugar production training
A joint effort of the TMK and the CPA’s NGO network namely-Montañosa Relief and Rehabilitation Services Foundation Inc, (MRRSFI), Montañosa Research and Development Center (MRDC) and Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC), a province-wide training on muscovado sugar production was conducted in Tanglag, Lubuagan, Kalinga from May 16-19, 2008 and was attended by 56 representatives from different TMK local chapters. Dagson Buyagan from Tubo, Abra was invited to help facilitate the training and share his community’s knowledge and experiences on muscovado production.
The training provided a venue to collectively assess current practices in molasses production and discuss ways on how to improve such practices by integrating the lessons learned from a cross-visit to a muscovado mill site in Panay and the village-based experiences of Pananuman in Tubo, Abra on muscovado sugar production.
One trainor-participant shared, “the sensitive process of making basi or sugar cane wine must also be followed, which involves the proper selection of sugarcane at right maturity and segregating parts attacked by pests such as rats and civets. The duration of pressing the freshly cut sugar cane must not exceed 24 hours while cooking of the sugar cane juice should start within 2-3 hours from pressing to avoid spoilage and sugar inversion which causes the bitter and sour taste of the muscovado sugar, discouraging us to use it as coffee sweetener”.
Dagson compared the cooking process as similar to rice, “it is just like cooking rice, that in order to come up with the texture we want, we need to observe proper fire control, the final reference point where we could say cooking is enough. The proper timing of mixing and cooling of the cooked sugarcane syrup is crucial to come up with granulated molasses (muscovado sugar) similar to brown sugar.”
The training ended with the participants satisfactorily drinking coffee sweetened with muscovado. Everybody was confident to go back to the community to share and re-echo what they have learned as they go about with their campaign to become self reliant on sugar by producing their own local sweetener. #
(This article is published in Hapit-a regular publication of Cordillera Peoples Alliance)

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