Badila Sugarcane

Ark of taste
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Badila Sugarcane

Badila nga tubo

Saccharum officinarum a member of the grass family (Poaceae), was first domesticated in New Guinea and the islands east of the Wallace Line by Papuans, where it is the modern center of diversity. From New Guinea it spread westwards to Southeast Asia, where it hybridized with Saccharum spontaneum.

Badila, is an ancient cultivar of sugar cane that can be found in the Philippines where its commercial production in Negros Occidental dated back to the 70’s. It is also considered as an ancestor to many modern commercial hybrids.

Badila sugar cane that is now used for chewing purposes only due to its sweetness is not cultivated in many parts of the country. The sugar cane can reach 2 metres tall and is dark purple, nearly black. The cane propagates by planting pieces of the stem, a new plant identical to the original is reproduced from each node. Once planted, it grows and accumulates sugar in its stem which is then cut when it is ripe. Sugarcane harvest starts from September to December and the cane becomes matured and ready for consumption upon harvesting. Traditionally, sugarcane processing requires two stages. Mills extract raw sugar from freshly harvested cane and "mill-white” sugar is sometimes produced immediately after the first stage at sugar-extraction mills, intended for local consumption. Sugarcane is a perishable commodity and must be processed into sugar quickly after it is harvested.

Badila sugarcane is usually for household consumption eaten raw and cooked as condiments and native delicacies such as Pang- os (raw sugarcane) or panocha. To consume the extracted sugarcane juice, it must be consumed after extraction and within 24 hours. This is to maintain freshness and nutritional value for health benefits. The product is sold on a delivery scheme at the Burgos Market Negros Occidental and in Laua-an, Antique, but in limited quantities.

In the last decades the Badila sugar cane was replaced by new high yielding hybrid varieties due to its vulnerability for human intervention. Due to the lack of commercial value, Badila is seldom seen apart from in the backyards of small farmers and households. Nowadays the number of farmers farming the Badila has decreased significantly, thus the sugar cane production has also decreased.

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Western Visayas (Region VI)

Production area:Laua-an municipality, Antique and Burgos and Libertad, Negros Occidental

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Nominated by:Georie Pitong - Suzanne Alexandra S. Veloso