JICA assists Tarlac town in developing sweet potato-based products 

TARLAC CITY (PIA) — The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) assisted the municipal government of Moncada in developing sweet potato-based products.

This is to address the problem of oversupply and low price of sweet potatoes which is the municipality’s “One Town, One Product”.

The municipal government of Moncada produces sweet potato red wine, which comes in citrus and strawberry flavors. (Moncada Pasalubong Center)

In an interview, Mayor Estelita Aquino said JICA helped the local government in processing sweet potatoes.

“It was not an easy journey. We tried different products like sweet potato flour but it was expensive. We tried rice cakes made of sweet potatoes but it was quite complicated. Finally, our sweet potato red wine was a success,” Aquino shared.

The sweet potato red wine, which comes in citrus and strawberry flavors, is available at the Moncada Pasalubong Center located near the municipal hall.

The town likewise offers ice cream made of sweet potatoes called “ice kreamote” which is available in buko pandan, chocolate, ube, cookies and cream, and cheese flavors.

To sustain the good production of sweet potatoes, Aquino highlighted the Farmers Field School of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to further enhance local farmers’ knowledge on the proper use of organic fertilizer.

“Aside from the implementation of the DA program, our Municipal Information Office is keen in disseminating proper information on the benefits of sweet potatoes, and how to maintain the good production of sweet potatoes. We have a fertile soil in Moncada, so all we need to do is to really take care of our production,” she emphasized.

The Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991, according to Aquino, improved soil fertility in the municipality resulting in high agricultural productivity of sweet potatoes.

She added that they recently celebrated the first Kamote Festival to highlight the thriving production of sweet potato, and to promote its innovative local products.

The town was recognized as the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the province in 2023, contributing 49 percent to the overall supply of Tarlac.

SOURCE: Trixie Joy B. Manalili PIA3