BACOLOD

Webinar series to underscore Western Visayas muscovado sugar industry

THE Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA), together with the Regional Development Council (RDC)-National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) in Western Visayas will conduct a webinar series on production, packaging, labeling, and marketing of muscovado sugar every Thursdays and Fridays starting October 22 to November 27 this year.

The SRA, in a statement, said the webinars aim to address the concerns of various stakeholders of the muscovado sugar industry in Western Visayas, the country's top muscovado sugar producing-region, contributing 32.5 percent to the total commodity output.

The stakeholders include sugarcane farmers and producers of muscovado, the millers and processors, traders, re-packers, and institutional buyers.

The SRA said the webinar series targets to orient industry players of the value chain supply of the muscovado sugar and how to improve the coordination of the actors in the supply chain.

It aims to reach sugarcane farmers and producers of muscovado sugar in the far-flung areas of the region while the country is still experiencing the adverse effects of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

"This will re-orient them on the best agricultural and farm management practices, soil testing analysis, varietal programming, introduction of sugarcane high-yielding varieties for muscovado, train farmers to apply their knowledge in the designated pilot or demo farms or block farms, and give them access to financial assistance, mechanical farm implements, fertilizers, among others, in order to eventually become competitive players in the world market," it added.

The topics will also cover the improvement of operational efficiency by upgrading mill machineries and facilities, observance of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point -- Good Manufacturing Practice (HACCP/GMP), rehabilitation of mills that do not conform with the standards prescribed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the SRA.

Other discussion points are product development particularly the presentation and packaging in order to command a better price, and updating on consumption trends, habits and demand pattern so producers can design product offerings consistent with their desired specification.

Local government units in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique and Negros Occidental -- where many muscovado mills are located, but are still mostly small scale, backyard industry -- will be involved in order.

This, in order to maximize the productivity, profitability, and efficiency of the muscovado sector so as to ensure that the region is driven towards the development of the agriculture industry, the agency said.

Interested parties may signify their intention of registering to the webinar series by coordinating with SRA Research, Development and Extension, and Regulation Department in Bacolod City, SRA Satellite Office, or through the SRA-Neda Muscovado Sugar Webinars Facebook page.

For more details and inquiry, the SRA's program coordinator can be reached through 09988453191 or 09229200702.


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