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MAPZACARA receives coco sugar processing equipment from DTI

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Members of the Malandi Patalon Zamboanga City Agrarian Reform Association (MAPZACARA) have every reason to wear their sweetest smiles nowadays. Afterall, they were the recipient of a total of P350,000 worth of equipment for coco-sweetener processing  from the Department of Trade Industry (DTI) recently.

Speaking in the local dialect, MAPZACARA Chairman Habil Tiblani expressed his profound gratitude to the government of President Aquino through the DTI, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for reaching out to them through the provision of requested trainings, seedlings, and various other kinds of support, the latest of which are the coco-sweetener equipment which the DTI gave them under its Shared Service Facility (SSF) project.

“Prior to the granting of these SSF equipment, we have to make do with makeshift stoves, often just a hole in the ground, plus improvised kitchen paraphernalia to cook the coconut toddy (tuba) into coco syrup and finally into granules which we call coco sugar,” Tiblani said.

“Because of the difficulty in cooking sans the necessary equipment, we often come up with just about five kilos of coco sugar in a month,” Tiblani disclosed.

“However, with these equipment now in our hands, there is no reason why we could not process as much as our supply of toddy can provide,”Tiblani said confidently.

Engr. Rolando Acuña, DTI-Zamboanga City Director who officiated the turning over of the equipment to MAPZACARA said that the four fabricated brick stoves, two LPG-fired hobs, and other equipment, could easily handle 160 liters of toddy which can produce about 20 kilos of coco-sweetener daily.

The working tables, stove tops, and most other equipment are all made of stainless steel for durability and to ensure the production process are up to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, according to Acuña..

Citing an article from Wikipedia, Acuña said coco-sweetener is good for diabetics as its Glycemic Index was reported by the PCA to be 35 which means it is a low glycemic index food.

Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. In addition, it contains Vitamin B1, B2, B3, and B6. When compared to brown sugar, coconut sugar has 18 times the potassium (K), 30 times the phosphorus (P) and over ten times the amount of zinc. The large amounts of K and P can explained by the way coconut sugar is tapped from the inflorescences of the tree. The coconut sap, from which coconut sugar is derived,  contains 16 amino acids, including Glutamine according the same Wikipedia article cited by Acuña.

Marketability of the product, Acuña said is helped in no small measure by its  increasing popularity as a sugar substitute in the domestic and international markets.   

Speaking before the members of MAPZACARA, Acuña made an appeal for them to take good care and make full use of the equipment. “This should not be a problem for you because DAR here, through Ms. Ayda Reyes committed to provide a structure to serve as your production and storage building soon. And because most of you are also beneficiaries of the 4Ps program of the DSWD, these convergence of assistance from various government agencies should enable you to succeed in this project.  ###   /lsv/dti9/




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