TAMARIND: FRUIT OF THE FUTURE

MANILA,
February 19, 2004 (STAR) It’s a fruit whose time has yet to come.

But the R&D sector is optimistic that tamarind’s time will soon come. In fact, the England-based International Centre for Underutilized Crops has described it as "fruit for the future."

There are two main varieties of tamarind – sweet and sour.

The sweet tamarind is produced mainly in Thailand where it is commercially grown and exported both in the fresh and processed forms. About 140,000 tons of tamarind is produced annually in Thailand.

India is also a major producer of both sweet and sour tamarind, turning out more than 300,000 tons annually.

Other Asian countries also produce and export tamarind, but on a much smaller scale.

Unfortunately for the Philippines, local tamarind is least preferred because of filth of peeled fruits, as found in a research funded by the DA Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

Undertaken by a UP Los Baños team headed by Lionisa Artes, the study documented the market requirements, quality profile, handling systems, and needs for tamarind and sugar palm ("kaong"); and evaluated the quality of raw materials sampled from the market.

The team concluded that there is a need to upgrade quality and remove biological and microbial contamination. Processed tamarind and "kaong" are in demand in the export market if quality standards are met, it pointed out.

An external program management review team headed by noted scientist Dr. Feliciano Calora that reviewed BAR-funded projects also said of the tamarind research: "This is a downstream research of great importance because of the improved domestic and export markets" of the crop. – Rudy A. Fernandez


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2003  by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE