|Project proponents, Rosemarie Olfato (left) and Virgilia Arellano (right) with Aida Cariño (center), regional technical director for Research, DA-RFU 4A during the 18th Annual Fruit Symposium held at Bohol Island State University , Tagbiliaran City, Bohol.
Photo: courtesy of STIARC
The project, "Enhancement of Tamarind Industry in Lobo Batangas" implemented by the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC) and funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) through one of its banner programs, the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), won third place during the recently conluded 18th Annual Fruit Symposium in Tagbiliaran City, Bohol. It was chosen out of the 31 papers presented for the Development Category with project proponents: Virgilia Arellano, Rosemarie Olfato, and Merly Tuazon presenting the paper.
The proponents collaborated with the Big A Multipurpose Cooperative in Biga, Lobo, Batangas for the project. Lobo is known for hectares of tamarind plantations, hence tamarind is the OTOP (one town, one product) of the municipality.
According to the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist, in 2005, Lobo has 12.17 ha tamarind plantation planted sporadically in the hilly and mountainous areas with a production of 146.87 tons raw materials.
The project sought to fully enhance the tamarind industry in Lobo and to uplift the living condition of the tamarind farmers. The proponents said that one of the existing constraints of the tamarind industry in Lobo is marketing. Marketing is limited mainly to sari-sari stores, very few mini-groceries, store stands at bus stop areas and cannot penetrate the big groceries and supermarkets due to a lot of required documents and lack of nutrition facts on the labels.
Through the project, the existing products of the Big A Cooperative which consists of tamarind wine, tamarind balls, and sweetened tamarind were enhanced.
Ms. Arellano said that the enhancement came in the form of modifying existing procedures and processes. For tamarind wine, they used Saccharomyces ellipsoideus instead of the ordinary Baker's yeast. This modification resulted to an increase in the alcohol content of the wine from 1 percent to 12 percent. She added that for tamarind balls, the best sugar ratio and end-point of cooking were determined and standardized which resulted to softer texture of the balls and a more acceptable sweet-sour ratio. As for the sweetened tamarind, soaking time and best sugar ratio were also established giving a more favourable taste to the product. Sensory evaluation was done to determine the acceptability of the products.
These improved products now come with new label designs complete with nutrition facts, it also has expiry date through shelf life and microbial determinations and complete with barcodes for commercialization purposes.
STIARC also conducted various market linkaging and promotional activities for this project. Through the project, the marketing aspect was observed to have increased. Return on investment is 40 percent, 42 percent, and 50 perecnt for tamarind balls, sweetened tamarind, and tamarind wine, respectively. The sales of the Cooperative also increased by an average of P118,426.63 per year covering the periods of 2007-2009.
Aside from winning in the award in the symposium, the tamarind wine was awarded the "Best Beverage" (wine category) during the 8th Agraryo Trade Fair in 2009 while, the tamarind balls was awarded "Best Processed Food" (sweet/delicacy category) in the 9th Agraryo Trade Fair in 2010.
STIARC also partnered with the local government and other agencies such as the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, Municipal Agrarian Reform Office and the Municipal Agriculturist Office.