Kamote spices up nutrition programs

BAYBAY CITY — When the price of copra was at its lowest in 2019, Baybay City Mayor Jose Carlos Cari advised the farmers to plant sweet potato instead as it has a shorter gestation period and commands a higher market price.

“If you plant kamote on a 100 square meter land, you can harvest 350 kilos and earn P8,750 in one harvest,” Cari said.

The mayor’s idea caught the interest of small farmers and since then, a root crop processing center has been established that buys kamote from the farmers while the Department of Science and Technology donated an ice cream maker which makes potato-based ice cream that is sold at the pasalubong center.

With all the positive possibilities, the local government here also launched on 18 January “Baybay City Delight’s Sweet Potato Baby Food and Milk Drink,” where kamote and carabao milk are the vital components of the city’s nutrition program.

Under the program, malnourished children in the city will be fed with Baybay Delights Sweet Potato Baby Food for 90 days while lactating mothers who lack nutrition will be provided with Baybay Delights Sweet Potato Milk Drink for 92 days.

The launching of Baybay Delights’ Sweet Potato Baby Food and Milk Drink was held in Barangay Caridad, a community with the greatest number of pregnant women in the city.

“Our agricultural programs must be connected to our nutrition program to encourage our farmers to produce more,” Cari said,

adding that the city government will provide funds to sustain.

“We will be expecting results, specifically its impact on the nutritional status of the children and the nutritionally at-risk pregnant women,” Cari said.

Dr. Julie Diamante Tan, a retired professor at the Visayas State University, says kamote is considered a “superfood.”

She said it is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, high in antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage and chronic disease, contain fiber and antioxidants, and are rich in beta carotene and anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that help improve eye health.

Meantime, DoST Leyte provincial director Ocaña said the program is laudable as it aims to eradicate malnutrition using cheap alternatives such as kamote and disclosed that the agency will provide the necessary technical assistance in the packaging and to extend the shelf life of the product.

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