By: Estrella Z. Gallardo
The Sweetpotato Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA) held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management in Quezon City, during the 2019 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) held on July 9-10, 2019 pitched the technologies on sweetpotato processing and products.
Said FIESTA was attended by farmers and investors from Central Luzon, Albay, Leyte, and Samar.
Among the presenters were Dr. Irene Adion of Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office III; Ms. Ava Nicole Azotea of Bicol University (BU); Mr. Christopher O. Pacardo of BU; Dr. Dan Leslie Tan of Visayas State University (VSU); and Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo of VSU.
Dr. Adion provided video presentations of SP products produced by women farmer groups in Central Luzon. The products she featured included Pan de-Botolan, SP cookies, noodles, nachos, piaya, chips, halaya, leche-halaya, wine, vinegar, and candies. All products, according to the presentation, are incorporated with SP to enhance its nutrient and fiber content.
Also included in her presentation was the Mayantoc Sweetpotato Clean Planting Materials Producer’s Cooperative.
Operating in Central Luzon as producer-supplier of Clean Planting Materials (CPM), the cooperative adopts a CPM production protocol developed by the Tarlac Agricultural University. Production of CPM as an enterprise improved their income and gave them a reputation as supplier of CPM.
Meanwhile, Azotea presented the SP coco yam energy bar, which uses sweetpotato and coco yam. She noted that the energy bar is a nutritious and cheaper alternative to energy bars available in the market, which typically uses oats, quinoa, or brown rice. She also added that aside from benefiting consumers, it also helps SP farmers as increased production of the energy bar increases demand for SP.
Pacardo, a co-inventor of Crop X Pro, presented the different Crop X Pro technologies on SP processing. He identified difficulties in manual processing of SP and said that available machines are very expensive and have to be imported from other countries.
According to Pacardo, the Crop X Pro machines are capable of converting squeezed pulps into powder as well as SP leaves into juice. He also added that all machines are zero-waste and use clean and improved processing techniques.
Meanwhile, the Portable Vacuum Frying System was presented by Dr. Tan. SPs that are usually boiled or fried with oil have short storage life. Vacuum-frying, he mentioned, produces healthy alternative products with longer storage life. He also added that it uses lower pressure and temperature to improve the quality attributes of fried products.
An alternative to the expensive vacuum frying machines, the Portable Vacuum Frying System has no expensive vacuum pump. The pump is replaced with a water pump and water jet, added Dr. Tan.
Lastly, Dr. Bacusmo discussed the different varieties of SP for various uses. He mentioned that they have been developing better SP varieties since 1997.
Encouraging the farmers to plant better varieties of SP, he mentioned that they have developed clones that are ready for planting.
FIESTA is a technology promotion, transfer, and commercialization platform initiated by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources of the Department of Science and Technology. (Philippine Press Club, Inc. (PPCI))