Growing Kaong (Sugar Palm), Other Uses

Starch production

Kaong trees more than 20 to 25 years old produce starch from the inner part of the tree. Starch is extracted from the trunk by cutting down the plant. Then, the interior fibrous parts of the trunk are cut into small pieces. These chips are then crushed, pulverized, washed with water several times, then finally dried under the sun. Since starch is obtained only by cutting the tree, it is usually the last product obtained from kaong.

Yield

Estimated yield per tree is about 50 to 75 kg of starch (age of tree is more than 15 years). In Central Java, 100 households in one village developed a home industry producing starch. They process 2,000 kg of starch from 200 trees everyday. In North Sulawesi, it was found out the solitary palms produce more starch than trees planted in a group.

Fruits

Kaong fruits are eaten by wild pigs, bats and palm civet, Viverra tangalunga (musang) and Paradoxorus philippinensis (alamid). These mammals naturally aid in the propagation of Arenga pinnata by eating the fruits and excreting the seeds.

Seeds of immature fruit when extracted and boiled with sugar is sold as an ingredient for salad and dessert. Harvesting is done anytime of the year. However, the peak months are November to January.

Buds

The buds, raw or cooked, make a fine salad.

Other uses in Medicinal

  • Tuba has curative properties for tuberculosis.
  • In Cambodia, the root is considered to be stomachic and pectoral.
  • Petioles have diuretic and antihemophilic properties (Agroforestry crops and Honey production).

Habitat

It is found growing in some forested areas but never far from settled areas, in ravines along streams, and areas under semi-cultivation. It is also occasionally found in virgin forest since its fruits are scattered by wild hogs, fruit, bats and civet cat.

Climatic requirement: Altitude: 600 m to 1,000 m asl

Phenology

Arenga pinnata begins to flower after 16 years at higher elevation (1,000 m and 12 to 13 years at lower elevations (600 m). They flower from the top leaf axils and then successively lower. Flowering is throughout the year. In Mt. Makiling, the fruit ripens 3 to 5 years after flowering (Reyes 2004, personal communication). After the last and lowers flowering, the tree dies at about 15-22 years.

Updated: Aug. 16, 2009
One of the visitor of Entrepinoys, Ben G. Bareja, a kaong grower, left the following comment: “Hello. Kindly check your data on phenology of kaong. I planted an uprooted seedling in 1998 here in Gen. Santos City and the plant started flowering in 6 or 7 years. I have already outplanted several seedlings propagated from the original plant and is set to establish a one-hectare kaong farm in South Cotabato. Thanks.”

Seed Technology

Fruit/seed collection. Seed collection can be done anytime of the year. Collect mature and ripe fruits while still attached to the mother tree. Average number of fruits/inflorescence is around 480. Every tree produces 5,000 to 7,000 seeds.

Seed extraction. The outer part of the fruit contains stinging crystals which cause intense irritation and burning sensation when it gets into contact with the skin. Using hand gloves is advisable in handling the seed. Arenga seeds can be extracted by hastening the decay of the exocarp portion of the fruit through the following methods:

  • Cover seeds with moist soil for 24 hrs.
  • Cover seeds with moist leaf litter. Irritating effect decreases after exocarp decays. Percent (%) decay is 73%.
  • Seed count: 292 seeds/liter

Pre-germination treatment. Remove the hilar cover using sharp pointed knife. Soak the pre-treated seeds in tap water until the radicle emerges in the hilar area. Change the water daily to prevent bacterial contamination.

Seed storage and viability. Viability is short and seeds can be stored only for a period of two months.

Wildlings: Seedlings for planting can be obtained from the wild from natural regeneration and raised as nursery seedlings.

Pests and diseases: No pest and diseases have been reported.

Nutritional Requirement

Chicken manure used as fertilizer in kaong plant.When growing Sugar palm (kaong), try to under-fertilize rather than over-fertilizer. Under-fertilized plants just don’t grow as fast; over-fertilized them and they may die. Using chicken manure, try to compost it instead of using it fresh. Chicken manure is a very good fertilizer but is very hot, so use small amounts and apply it three or four times in a year instead of applying it all at once. Konag is sensitive to micro nutrient shortages, so you want to be aware these. Composted chicken manure should apply the micro nutrients you need.

For more information, contact:

Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Central Office: Visayas Avenue, Diliman, 1100 Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 929-6626
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.denr.gov.ph

Department of Agriculture
Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Trunkline: (632) 928-8741 to 65
Web: www.da.gov.ph

source: DENR

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