Aiming to create additional livelihood for community residents, San Roque Watershed Area Team (SRWAT) in partnership with Benguet State University (BSU) through the Program on Indigenous Peoples conducted a training on Cassava and Sweet PotatoFood Processing on Sept. 1-2 and 12, 2018 at Daynet Resettlement in Brgy.Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet.
Cassava (Manihotesculenta) and Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) are important highland crops as they serve as either staple or subsistence crops. Rufino Santiago, 72, a community resident shared that based on his experience, cassava crop can thrive on any ecological condition; hence, it will only require minimal care and it is very suitable in Daynet.
Santiago, together with Lolita Anannayo, 70, shared their knowledge on how to produce cassava wine, locally known as “tapueyti cassava”.It could be noted that only the two elders know how to produce wine in the resettlement area. Meanwhile, Juanita Boadilla, 59, and Rosalinda Calderon, 35, demonstrated how to make their own version of cassava cake.
Joyce R. Mama-o, staff of the Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) based in La Trinidad, Benguet supplemented the locals’ knowledge on food processing that could be done without the use of electricity. She demonstrated the processes of making cassava cuchinta, pitci-pitchi, flour, and camote-lemon juice.
Grouped into three (3) with five (5) members each group, participant tried the basic steps of measuring, grating, kneading, drying, and mixing ingredients in cooking and preparing the snacks made out of cassava products and by-products.
“Pagyamanan midagijayinsuru ken anus u ngainmaynangisuru, uraynabangad kami. Addanaadal mi ngabarbarungamabalin mimaisuruitiaannak ken aapuku mi,” (We thank you for your patience in coming up to our place and for sharing your knowledge even though we sometimes do not listen. We learned something new that we can teach to our children and grandchildren), said Magdalena Mendoza, 54.
As recalled, previous skills trainings have also been conducted by SRWAT to same community such as project management, broom making, poultry production and management, among others. “We believe that through these trainings, the community would be able to enhance their existing skills and knowledge. This is one modest way of helping communities help themselves towards the goal of lessening dependency to other stakeholders in the watershed area,” said SRWAT Section Chief Mendel S. Garcia.