SIRUMA, CAM. SUR - This remote municipality took center stage recently as it was chosen by the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) for the launching of the newly developed “Rimas” ice cream made from breadfruits which grow abundantly in this municipality.
About 200 farmers, rural women, agri- stakeholders, students, members of Siruma Agricultural Cooperatives and personnel of the Municipal government attended the launching which was graced by no less than the BAR director Dr. Nicomedes Eleazar, Mayor Sandy Ondis, Anthony Obligado, Chief, Technology Commercialization Division, also of BAR, and DA Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulatory Dr. Edgar R. Madrid , and representatives from the DAR, DOST and DILG.
Dr. Eleazar said rimas has a great potential as a food commodity with high nutritional value as well as a source of income especially for small farmers as this tree yields so much fruits and does not require much production inputs and capital. He mentioned that the Bicol Research Division headed by Luz Marcelino submitted a project proposal to develop products from this fruit and in 2013 the project was awarded and cited as the Best Innovative Product. Rimas is rich in potassium and high in carabohydrates and vitamins.
Marcelino who is also the manager of the Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center (BIARC) disclosed that to date their product development team led by Arlene I. de Asis, a food technologist has already developed 17 products from rimas including the ice cream. These are: flour, pastillas, spring roll, custard, pork dumplings, rice balls, chips, muffins, pinoy fries, cheesy bar, turon, torones de rimas, cookies, spicy fries and kimchi. She adds that the rimas ice cream with its creamy taste and high nutritional value will now be commercially marketed by Yulaik Enterprise owned by Lorna Daud an agri-entrepreneur from Naga City. Meanwhile, the Siruma Agricultural Cooperative will be the one to go into commercial production of rimas trees and will be supplying the fruits to Yulaik and future processors. The DA will be assisting them obtain quality planting materials, conduct skills training and capacity building activities and provide technical assistance in collaboration with the LGU.
Marcelino explained that based on their survey the province of Sorsogon has the biggest number of rimas tress followed by Masbate. Camarines Sur ranks third and Siruma is top one among the towns of Camarines Sur thus, it was chosen as the venue for the product launch. This is to make the people of Siruma aware of the potential and commercial value of this crop. Most of the rimas fruits here are just left to rot by the tree owners as they do not know what to do with them.
Thus ,Mayor Ondis expressed his great appreciation to the DA for opening a window of opportunity for an alternative livelihood for his constituents who are mostly farmers and fisherfolk. He added that g this will also help in addressing the nutritional imbalance of most children of this generation who are not so inclined to eat vegetables and fruits.
During the ceremonial product launch, the ice cream cone made from adlay which was developed by the Research team of CALABARZON (Region IV-A) was also introduced as a perfect match for the rimas ice cream because of its nutritional value.
Meanwhile, Wilson Dulaylungsod, general manager of the agricultural coop bared that there are four varieties of rimas inn their municipality. He shared that the rimas flowers could be used as insect repellent and the sap fo the tree could be used as adhesive. He expressed optimism that their coop’s partnership with the DA will bring positive result to their community and they are open to new technologies and good agricultural practices.
The last part of the launching ceremonies was the demonstrations on rimas grafting (EMILY B. BORDADO)