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‘Salabat’ processing brings a cup of hope for ginger farmers

Cultivating ginger is currently one of major livelihoods that sprung in  the hinterlands of Antique -- San Remigio town.

With its unique geography, humid conditions, and rich soils, the municipality is considered as among the most conducive areas to grow ginger.

Ginger, called “luy-a” in the native dialect, grows in all parts of the country, and is often used as one of the common ingredients among the local dishes.

Hence, the small-scale cultivators of Stone Cave United La Union Farmers Association (SCULFA) in San Remigio, Antique engaged in planting and propagating the plant.

The association further bolstered its business venture by processing their ginger produce into powdered tea called “salabat,” a popular hot beverage made from boiled fresh or powdered ginger.

Based on Philippine Statistics Authority in 2020, the volume of ginger production in Western Visayas has reached an average growth rate of 1.5 percent from 2015-2019 with a 5.3 percent share of the country’s total ginger output.

Despite the increase on its production in the past years, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Special Area for

Agricultural Development (SAAD) program has perceived that the production volume of the plant can hardly meet its current demand which they attribute to its many uses in whichever part of the country due to its health benefits.

Thus, the DA SAAD program has provided interventions to SCULFA, aiming to support their existing livelihood as ginger growers and by-product producers.

In year 2020, the association was identified as a beneficiary under the FY 2021 Ginger Production Project of DA SAAD where they were granted initially with 200 kilograms of ginger, 24 bags of complete fertilizer (14-14-14), 23 bags of muriate of potash (0-0-60), seven pieces each of plow and pieces harrow, and seven heads caracow with an overall cost of P36,100.00.

Further, on March 25, 2022, some 200 kilograms of ginger rhizomes were delivered by the DA SAAD program to the association in support of their existing production, supplemented by draft animals, farm tools, and materials inputs in May of the same year.

Covering 0.00009 percent of the 33,650 hectares total land area of the whole of San Remigio, SCULFA cultivated the rhizomes in their 300-square meter sloping communal garden and in some small patches of land owned by its members.

The group processes half their ginger yield and the other half are being reserved and intended to be

utilized as planting materials for every subsequent cropping.

As to processing, the powdered ginger tea is sealed in a ziplock stand-up pouch and sold at P100 for 100 grams and P220 for 200 grams.

Foreseeing the sustainability of their enterprise, 10 percent of the group’s income is remitted to the savings account of the association.

The locals also engage in the production of commercial crops such as bananas, peanuts, monggo, and vegetables, among others.

Long before, these homegrown crops were only sold to the market upon harvest, but SCULFA now embarks on processing their produce in view to maximize the value-adding potential of their farm products.

With the interventions given by several government agencies such as the DA to the association, farmer-producers in the area now offer a variety of local processed products ranging from banana chips, sweet potato chips, taro chips, peanut butter, and sugar candy with peanuts or commonly known as “bandi.”

SCULFA president Miguelina Villasor expressed her gratitude to the DA SAAD, citing that the project has greatly helped the women in their community to earn a living especially those that have no jobs.

This only holds true that one small step creates a ripple.

Just like starting their venture from meager resources, SCULFA now come to expand to broader boundaries as they explore salabat processing, giving the ginger farmers a cup of hope for their future. (JBG/AGP/PIA6)

About the Author

April Grace Padilla

Information Officer II

Region 6

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