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DAR helps Bicol agrarian reform beneficiaries produce healthy coconut vinegar, sauce

balita-phLEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 5 (PNA) –- After making them beneficiaries of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is helping Bicolano farmers generate more income from their farms.

The latest of livelihood assistance is the grant of equipment that would enable Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) in the region to commercially produce coconut-based vinegar and amino sauce—a healthy substitute to soy sauce.

“We have started this undertaking with the Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organization (ARBO) in Labo,Camarines Norte which will later be radiated to other areas in the region to boost their earning capabilities and enhance the commercial production of these coconut-based products,” DAR regional director Luis Bueno Jr. on Thursday here said.

The assistance, he said, is composed of the provision of processing equipment such as an acetator set composed of large jacketed kettle, high-pressure burner, storage drum, compressor, digital PH meter, large blue carbon containers, double burner gas stove with pre-loaded LPG cylinder tank, working tables, hot air gun for bottle sealing and bottle caps—all worth about Php200,000.

The DAR is giving out this kind of assistance to provide ARBOs an additional livelihood opportunity, considering their potential and capabilities to engage in the production of these food products that are widely in demand owing to their broad health benefits, Bueno said.

Coconut vinegar or “sukang niyog” is similar to other fermented vinegars such as apple cider and balsamic vinegars.

It can either be made with coconut water or from the sap, or "tuba," of the coconut tree to come up through a fermentation process with a white and cloudy food additive that has a very pungent acidic taste and a hint of yeast.

It is a food supplement appropriate for diabetic patients, as it is very low on the glycemic index, which categorizes carbohydrate-containing foods by how much they raise blood sugar level.

Natural coconut vinegar that contains no artificial preservatives is rich in vitamins and alkalising minerals like potassium, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and sodium and also contains anti-oxidants which makes this natural food such a great part of one’s diet for the benefits it provides.

Coconut amino sauce, on the other hand, is made from raw coconut tree sap and sun-dried sea salt that is naturally aged to come up with a condiment that catches on as a potential alternative to soy sauce.

Completely free of soy, it has a dark, rich and salty flavor with a faint, sweet aftertaste, and can be used in salads, marinades, and as a seasoning that is gluten-free and with lower sodium option.

It contains a higher level of 17 amino acids, which may contribute to heart health, digestive health and mood stabilization.

It is also rich in vitamins B and C, and various minerals.

Bueno said the all-natural coco vinegar and amino sauce are among the ARBO’s products commended by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Review Mission during its recent visit in Camarines Norte.

This was followed by target-setting and planning of the DAR and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which resulted in the need to enhance coco vinegar production, wherein its main raw material – the coco water — is in abundance in the province.

Before the delivery of the equipment to the Labo ARBO, he said, the DAR, in partnership with DTI, conducted various technology training courses for its members that provided them “Learning Expedition for Coco Vinegar and Coco Toyo” processing, packaging and marketing.

The training taught ARB-vinegar producers the actual utilization of the acetator set, showed them the latest farming innovations for coconut and equipped them with the know-how to produce various coconut by-products.

All ARBOs in Bicol that have access to coconut production and interested in the project will undergo the same training that includes “Skills Upgrading and Exposure” to backstop the initial production of coco vinegar and amino sauce.

“We are also providing them the equipment so that they could engage in commercial production and maximize the use of coconut to increase household income and generate jobs for local residents,” Bueno added. (PNA)

Source: http://balita.ph/2015/02/06/dar-helps-bicol-agrarian-reform-beneficiaries-produce-healthy-coconut-vinegar-sauce/

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