For over a decade, farmers in La Union earned additional income through selling chichacorn (deep-fried crunchy puffed corn).
Aside from cultivating the 21.6 hectares of agrarian reform land in Barangay Halog West Tubao, the Halog West Producer’s Cooperative, Inc., engaged in value addition due to abundance of corn varieties.
Moreover, as stated in the report of Philippine News Agency (PNA), the processing center of the cooperative was established through the help of Village-Level Processing Center Enhancement Program (VLPCEP) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
“The VLPCEP aims to develop market competitive agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) products and to enhance enterprise and livelihood activities in selected agrarian reform areas”, report added.
“From their seed capital amounting to PHP5,000, the cooperative has PHP100,000 in the bank and with more than PHP2 million in assets, “Halog West chairman Nena Panes reported to the PNA.
Respectively, the farmers in La Union processed white corn and mastered in maintaining the crunchiness of the chichacorn.
The cooperative is also marketing its product using its own social media platform, specifically, Facebook.
Interestingly, the product is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
At present, the product is named Halog Munchies Chichacorn yet the cooperative is planning to change it into Tubao Munchies.
In 2017, Halog Munchies was recognized as the Best Processed Food Product.
“The farmers here have long been together. They have been farming here — from our great grandparents to our parents, and to us. Tubao was known before for steamed corn as our product, but since many have been doing it already, the Department of Trade and Industry helped us come up with the idea of chichacorn. But we’ve been through a lot. Nonetheless, DAR, DA (Department of Agriculture) and the LGU here helped our cooperative,” Panes stated.