Panela Monitor

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New use for panela

Production, marketing and quality control aspects of non-centrifugal sugar in Colombia are described. Non-centrifugal sugar is known as panela in Latin America. About 70 000 sugar cane farmers on the slopes of the Colombian Andes make a living out of producing panela. Recently, the cheaper panela has lost marketing share to refined sugar, especially in cities. A new product was developed, called "panela pulverizada" (PP; granulated panela), with a view to improving the marketing prospects of panela. Unlike the traditional product, PP does not need to be broken up into smaller pieces before use. Furthermore, it is more nutritious, and it makes a tasty lemonade. The following steps were added for the production of PP: (1) addition of clarifying agents; (2) crystallization; (3) sun-drying; and (4) sieving. Various simple aids to improve the food hygiene situation were also introduced. The equipment needed is the same as that used in traditional panela production. As part of a PP project, workshops to train farmers in better marketing techniques and to teach rural women new uses for PP were set up. Applications for PP include: jam, canned fruits, drinks, porridges, sweets, cakes and biscuits

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