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Bitter Taste of Balinese Palm Sugar

Palm sugar (brown sugar) makers at Besan Village, Dawan, Klungkung, have difficulty to get raw materials or wine seepage of coconut tree. It happens because within the past few days, in Klungkung, particular at Besan, it always rains.

Actually, before Galungan and Kuningan the demand for brown sugar (also called Balinese sugar) increases. The price rises as well. During rainy season, sugar makers only acquire a small amount of wine. “Similarly, we do not dare to climb coconut trees, because it is slippery,” said sugar maker from Dawan, Nengah Koyog, at his home.



According to Koyog and his wife, Nengah Yasa, they would get much sap of coconut tree during dry season. Climbing the coconut tree was not too worrisome because the trunk was dry. On that account, every day the sugar maker could harvest wine for two times, in the morning and afternoon. However, during rainy season, they could only climb once. Even, it highly depended on the condition of coconut trees. In dry season, a tree could produce 2 liters of wine. “But, in rainy season it only produces a little, nearly 1 liter,” said Koyog.

However, the 65-year old man admitted if he no longer dared to climb because he was already old enough. Activity to slit into the bud of coconut tree for collecting its sap or wine had now been continued by his son, Nengah Sutarna. In normal condition, Koyog said, the wine obtained from nine coconut trees in his backyard reached up to 25 liters taken twice daily (morning and afternoon). Results of the wine seepage were directly boiled and could produce 4 kilogram of brown sugar. “Before Galungan and Kuningan, the price is rising. If previously was only IDR 13,000 per kilogram, now it reaches IDR 15,000 per kilogram,” said Koyog who also collected sugar product of the surrounding residents.

Other than marketed in traditional markets across Klungkung, brown sugar produced by Besan Village was also sold to outside Klungkung such as Denpasar. Unfortunately, due to difficulty to get raw materials, this sweet sugar was tasted ‘bitter’ by the sugar makers. “I myself have a regular customer from Renon. In once delivery, it can reach hundreds of kilogram,” he said. (BTN/kmb)

 

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Friday, September 19, 2014
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