Every Pinoy has probably heard and tasted Salabat. This herbal drink, known to remedy sore throat and stomache ache, is basically a hot ginger tea with a tangy flavor and can be drank by itself or with a pinch of sugar or a freshly squeeze of calamansi. Traditionally, this tea goes through a rigourous preparation from boiling the sliced ginger to flavoring. But an innovation in Badiangan, Iloilo made it possible for the production of an “Instant Salabat”.

Instant Salabat made easier and tastier 1

Although the instant ginger brew is not new for it originated during the 1970s in Brgy. Iniligan, Badiangan, the product still needs further development in terms of commercialization and marketing. This year, the Badiangan Ginger Planters and Producers Cooperative (BGPPC), in collaboration with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), partners with the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) to increase the competitiveness of the product in the local market and prepare for the fierce competition in the international market.

Packaging salabat for better marketability

BGPPC has been wanting to enter the commercial market through its ginger-based products specifically the instant Salabat (a readily mixed drink just like the 3-in-1 instant coffee). Treading towards its goal, BGPPC is working on its License to Operate (LTO) registration and Food and Drug Administration (FDS) certification.

“However, [regarding] the application for the FDA and LTO, the concerned agencies [have] required the improvement of the facilities and production area for an increased production capacity and marketability of the ginger-based products,” explained Mr. Roberto S. Borra, chairman of the cooperative.

BGPPC’s project titled, “Promotion of Instant Salabat through Enhanced Packaging and Labeling”, which is supported by BAR through its National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), will be the stepping stone towards product market-readiness and competitiveness by upgrading the packaging and labeling of the product.

Specifically, the project aims to: 1) enhance the competitiveness of the product in the local market by improving the package and label; 2) provide additional income and increase employment in the community; and 3) establish a steady, viable and dependable income generating project for the community.

Badiangan’s ginger-based industry

Ginger is well-known in the municipality of Badiangan for it rears an abundance of this indigenous crop within its lands. In 2004, the One Town One Product (OTOP) program was launched in each municipality of the country and ginger-based industry development was established and implemented in Badiangan through the BGPPC. With 14 years of existence, BGPPC has been striving to advance the town’s ginger industry with the goal to better the lives of Badiangan ginger planters.

The instant salabat is one of the premier ginger-based goods developed by BGPPC together with involved agencies. “The processed “instant salabat” is likewise exposed to the market through trade fairs both the national and local levels,” said Mr. Chester G. Cortuna, manager of BGPPC.

Recently, it was featured as one of the products exhibited during BAR’s 8th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition at SM Megamall on 9-12 August 2012. This annual activity aims to showcase and promote innovative technologies and products in the agriculture and fisheries sector developed by government agencies, international organizations, and public-private partners.

Going instant

After the ginger rhizomes are checked and inspected for quantity and quality, they undergo proper sanitation procedures before proceeding to cutting and trimming. The cut ginger are washed with water and rinsed with 70 ppm chlorinated water to eradicate microorganisms.

Afterwards, the washed ginger passed through a mechanical grinder. The juice is extracted from the pulp through the utilization of a pre-sanitized nylon strainer followed by the hydraulic press machine.

To add flavor, the extracted juice is mixed with sugar at a pre-determined ratio. At a temperature from 1800C to 200 0C, the mixture is cooked with constant stirring. The medium heat and vigorous stirring will facilitate the powdering of the mixture.

After passing the ginger brew through a series of sieves to produce a fine powder, it will then be cooled at room temperature. After undergoing packaging, sealing, and labeling procedures, the ginger brew will be stored at room temperature. “These are arranged according to production dates and are labeled properly for easy application of the first-in, first-out (FIFO) rule,” said the proponents.

The production volume per month of instant salabat is 500 to 700 kilograms. Other ginger-based product lines manufactured by the cooperative are ginger candy, ginger juice drink, ginger syrup, ginger tea, and ginger squash bar. Today, BGPPC is looking forward to having their various ginger-based goods patented. ### (Leila Denise Padilla) bar.gov.ph