Saturday, May 19, 2012

Antique's Best Muscovado Sugar

by Manfred Evanz

Antique was also the country’s number one muscovado producer in the 1970s until local farmers shifted to planting other crops when prices of sugar in the world market dropped.

In this province where muscovado sugar production is a major industry, there are 149 village-level muscovado mills that annually produce more than 2,000 tons of muscovado sugar from 702 hectares of sugarcane fields. These small mills help propel the province’s economy while providing jobs to the people.

Muscovado sugar is made from boiling the juice extracted from sugarcane until it evaporates, leaving only 30 percent of the original volume which is then dried and allowed to solidify into dark brown sugar. People who are health-conscious prefer it over refined sugar because it is naturally produced without chemicals.

The conventional method of muscovado sugar milling (open pan evaporation) which is still being employed by most small muscovado mills today results in huge sugar losses from the field to the mill. This also produces lower quality sugar because of the impurities present in the product, hence affecting its appearance and marketability.

Members of Binirayan Fair Traders, an association of small muscovado sugar farmers and processors in Antique, however, are lucky because they were able to overcome these constraints with interventions from appropriate agencies.

Muscovado is also entered in the government’s “One Town-One Product Program” for the province of Antique, which makes it easier to market the product because it is being identified as Antique’s produce.

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