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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 17, 2017
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P3.5M processing center
boost to cassava production

Stakeholders of cassava in Negros Occidental will find an easier way to process their produce when a P3.5 million cassava processing center is erected this year in Brgy. Tabunan, Bago City.

Ma. Lina Alayon, provincial focal person for cassava, said the Department of Agriculture will shell out P3 million while the Office of the Provincial Agriculturists, the proponent of the project, will provide an equity of P.5 million that includes the place and the building for the facilities.

She said cassava, being a complementary crop to corn, plays a vital role in the development of the feed industry. Current estimate ranks cassava as one of the least crops in terms of area at 800 hectare all over the province.

She said tapping cassava's potential in agri-business will motivate the farmers to produce more. The cassava roots, leaves and stem are a good sources of carbohydrates and protein and can be used as animal feed.

In Negros Occidental, she said, the most commonly used part is only the root as food and feed which is chipped, pelletized and granulated.

The whole process includes the drying of cassava which cause delay especially if done manually. She said sun drying is very laborious, requires a lot of time and often leads to unevenly dried and unpleasant appearance of cassava chips.

“The project aims to persuade farmers to expand their plantation and produce cassava in large scale while improving the post harvest operation by providing efficient drying and processing facility”, she said, adding that the provincial government thrust in agriculture is perpetually on food sufficiency and development of farmers' livelihood.

The processing center is also expected to produce quality processes cassava to meet the standards of feed milling companies and to reduce post harvest losses.

She said that, aside from its industrial uses, the versatility of cassava also invades the manufacturing and gastronomy business, being the leading starching, binding and emulsifying ingredients. “Cassava is really one crop that possesses a variety of by-products”, she added.

Since there is no existing farmer group for the commodity, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturists will manage and maintain the operation. A minimal fee will be charged for maintenance of the one-ton capacity dryer.

Aside from being a processing center the facility will also serve as demonstration and show window for growers, Alayon added.*Max N. Macahilo




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