THE three-day Marang Festival, now on its second year, underscores the provincial government’s effort to boost the local marang industry mainly through innovation.

Speaking at the opening rites at the Provincial Capitol Grounds in Bacolod City Thursday, August 24, Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said that aside from sugar, the Provincial Government is also working on improving the production of fruit trees, including marang.

Marañon said that while preserving the sugar industry, there is also a need to concentrate on fruit tree production as the country is still largely importing fruits despite its huge potential to grow and produce fruits.

The province has been pushing for value-adding to encourage more income opportunities for local marang farmers and producers, he added.

“Through the festival, we are honoring the marang farmer-producers in the province,” the governor said. “There is a big future for marang thus, aside from production we just have to push for more innovations especially in developing more byproducts.”

Marañon also took pride in declaring that marang produced in Negros Occidental is sweeter and more delicious than those in other provinces.

“It is mainly because we have a good soil and climate,” he said.

Themed “Marang: Innovations: Implication to Community Development,” the festival is joined by six local government units (LGUs). These are the cities of Sagay, La Carlota and Talisay, and towns of La Castellana, Murcia and Calatrava.

A wide-variety of marang products, from fresh fruit to processed, is being showcased in the booths. Among other the product offerings include butter, bandi, bread, coffee, brittle, puto, ice cream and polvoron.

Fourth District Board Member Victor Javellana, chairman of the Provincial Board committee on agriculture, said the festival is a means of raising awareness on the growing potential of marang in the province.

“It is an opportunity which Negrense farmers and entrepreneurs can venture into given its huge livelihood and business potentials,” Javellana added.

Marang or artocarpus odoratissimus, a tropical fruit known for its sweet odor and taste, is abundant every August and September.

In Barangay Colonia Divina in Sagay City alone, more than 20, 000 marang trees are growing in a 3,000-hectare land area. Most of these fruit trees are being intercropped with other crops like sugarcane, rice, banana, pineapple, and root crops.

The three-day activity also include “Marang Eat All You Can,” marang processing symposiums, and innovation demonstrations, among others.

Gerard Tupas, program manager of the Technology and Livelihood Development Center (TLDC), said this year’s festival is also highlighting the need to develop the entire industry chain.

Tupas said that on top of generating sales, farmer-producers should also be equipped on how to innovate and further develop their products.

“Aside from production aspect, we are also pushing for more innovative farmer-entrepreneurs to sustain the industry,” he added.