VSU PhilRootcrops' New Mission in Basilan: Establishment of Rootcrops-based Livelihood Program

The Modelling Inter-LGU Alliance in Basilan (MILAB) project of the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) deliberated the establishment of a livelihood program as a subject or focus for their alliance building in the western part of the province of Basilan, especially since one of the major crops in the area, the coconut, has been affected by the infestation of the Cocolisap.

The IAG-MILAB, which focuses on alliance building and on how it benefits the allied parties, has already formed the Western Basilan Alliance (WBA) which would be the recipient of the planned livelihood program. WBA is currently composed of 4 municipalities which are the Maluso, Lantawan, Sumisip and Tabuan Lasa. Among the other subjects for the alliance building are resources protection, peace promotion, improved communication, etc.

The establishment of a rootcrops-based livelihood program has been considered by MILAB as rootcrops, especially cassava, are already a staple food in Basilan. In fact, there is already an existing value chain for basic food like the puto (pyuto) made from cassava. However, concerned stakeholders reported gaps like the low shelf life of its raw material, the panggi, or the semi-dried grates that only last for a week.

With this, MILAB reached out to PhilRootcrops and asked for technical assistance. As a response, a team from VSU PhilRootcrops went to Basilan to help assess and plan how to improve the food value chains of cassava and other rootcrops in the area.


 “Gusto na po namin mag-graduate sa panggi.” (We want to graduate from panggi.) This has been stated by one of the members of WBA.


The need to expand the value chains has sparked from the necessity of the locals to innovate from panggi and other food products from rootcrops, as well as due to the Cocolisap infestation in the area that affected their coconut industry, and the need to enhance the peace and order situation in the area.

The center plans to enhance the value chains by extending the shelf life of the primary/intermediate products such as grates and making them storable and more tradable like dried grates and flour.

The center will provide its technologies and machines developed for the utilization of cassava and other rootcrops into high-value processed products.


The initiative will be a partnership effort of the VSU PhilRootcrops, the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG), the Provincial Government of Basilan, and the formed alliance among the municipalities in the Western part of the province or the WBA. The parties agreed during the meeting to have piloting of rootcrops production area, training on production and processing of rootcrops, and capacitate the players in the value chain. Among the other things discussed was the possible establishment of PhilRootcrops extension in the Bangsamoro region or to be one of the ministries under the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM). Written by: Mikaela M. Gonggora

About PhilRootcrops

The Philippine Root Crop Research and Training Center (PhilRootcrops) is a government research, development and training institution for root and tuber crops: cassava, sweetpotato, taro, yam, yambean, arrowroot and other rootcrops.
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Vision, Mission & Goal

Creating wealth, enhancing health, improving lives through roots and tubers
To provide the national leadership in formulating and implementing strategic root crop research and development programs that can reduce poverty and food insecurity
To generate and promote root crop innovations and information that can improve the lives of stakeholders along the root crop value chain.

Contact Information

PhilRootcrops, VSU,Visca, Baybay City, Leyte, Philippines 6521-A
Telephone / Fax No.: +63 (053)563-7229 Trunkline: +63 (053) 565 0600 local 1063
Email: [email protected] | [email protected]
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