Try quench your thirst with the juiciest watermelon from the best pakwan– producing town of Pangasinan – Bani.
And if you think pakwan in Bani is only round-shaped, think again. Bani’s pakwan comes in oval and square shapes, and in various colors too – red and yellow.
For five years now, the local government of Bani has been staging the Pakwan Festival to showcase its prime product and help its farmers gain their fullest potentials.
Mayor Gwen Palafox Yamamoto said Bani has been producing quality watermelon in 10 barangays covering 240 hectares of the land area that traders have been buying by truckloads.
“Our farmers used to worry is where to sell the products. Now, kahit hindi pa masyadong hinog, pinapa-harvest na ng mga traders dahil marami na ang naghahanap,” Yamamoto told the Philippine Information Agency.
Even hectares plantation area are already being contracted by traders before each planting season.
Bani watermelon are sold as far as Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Laguna, Cavite and the National Capital Region, the mayor said.
A farmer who invests P20,000 for one planting season can sell the produce for as high as P80,000, giving him a net profit of P60,000.
Bani Pakwan Growers Association president Julie Calisaan shares the secret of Bani’s sweet and juicy pakwan.
“Pinakamatamis ang pakwan dito sa amin dahil ang pinangdidilig dito (na tubig) ay hindi masyadong matabang, may alat o brackish. Ang pagdilig ay mano-mano gamit ang tabo, hindi flooding at talagang maingat kami sa pagtatanim,” Calisaan said.
Calisaan added, however, that challenges are present in every endeavour like calamities and climate change. There are times when there is abundant harvest, farmers end up selling at a very low price.
But the municipal government is bent on rising above these challenges. It is eyeing the establishment of a green house in the municipal farm that can produce pakwan year-round.
“We are also gearing towards organic farming. Unti-unti, magiging 100 percent na chemical -free ang pagtatanim but still giving the best quality pakwan in Luzon,” Yamamoto said.
Pakwan is also skillfully grown in special molding plates to produce various shapes.
The municipal government aims to protect the name of Bani watermelons. it is looking into the certification process of pakwan that the product is, indeed, from the town.
“Pinapangalagaan namin ang pangalan at quality ng Bani pakwan. Tunog pa lang, paghiwa pa lang, alam na ito ay Bani pakwan,” the mayor said. (VHS/PIA-Pangasinan)
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