08 Dec 2020

ARENGA TREES more than a dessert ingredient

Abundant but underrated crop in Cavite brings wonders to growers

WONDER CROP Agroforester Dr. Lorenzo Lapitan Jr. promotes the many uses and benefits of “arenga” (sugar palm) THIS underrated crop works wonders. Dr. Lorenzo Lapitan Jr., an agroforester has realized the many benefits of arenga (sugar palm) other than to produce fruits commonly known as dessert ingredients.

“We often seek God’s blessings. But even before we open our mouths to prayers, the answers are already there—the arenga (trees) are there,” he said in a recent “People know it only as a dessert,” he said, referring to the sweetened kolang kaling fruit used in salads or halo-halo, a native treat. “But all parts of the plant can actually be converted for other uses.”

‘Trees of life’

If coconut trees are referred to as the “trees of life,” Lapitan sees the kaong as the “wonder crop.” Its leaves can be made into brooms or woven baskets, its bark into hard pieces of furniture, and its fiber, also known into ropes and cleaning brushes.

(But) “the most economical part of the palm is the sap,” Lapitan said.

Win-win solution

But not many people realize that the sap, once heated, produces brown sugar, which not only serves as a natural sweetener but contains minerals and a very low glycemic index (GI), as well. GI refers to the impact of food to the blood sugar.

“This means that diabetics may now enjoy sweets without having to worry about the sugar in their bloodstream,” Lapitan said.

FUTURE GAINS Children are encouraged to plant and promote arenga considering its almost 10-year gestation period, as it secures their future.

“They (arenga palms) need not be planted in prime lands (and) have a very good natural regeneration if only humans won’t intervene,” he said.

Each palm grows 12 to 20 meters high and takes six to 15 years to mature. A mature palm bears an average of eight fruit clusters, each cluster having as much as 5,000 fruits.

With a 90-percent survival rate and the capacity to thrive even under adverse conditions, palms are also effective soil stabilizers against erosion. They also serve as a natural habitat for the alamid (mountain cats) and cloud rats.



08 Dec 2020

ARENGA TREES more than a dessert ingredient

24 Nov 2020


25 Sep 2018