A root-crop fes­ti­val lev­els up the ‘poor man’s pro­duce’

Agriculture - - News - BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

IN THE PHILIP­PINES, rootcrops like cas­sava and camote have long been con­sid­ered to be ‘poor man’s pro­duce.’ The pro­duc­tion of th­ese crop is usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with small­holder farm­ers with low in­comes. But rootcrops de­serve a sec­ond look, es­pe­cially now that they are con­sid­ered healthy food. The Con­sul­ta­tive Group on In­ter­na­tional Agri­cul­tural Re­search projects that by 2020, roots and tu­bers will be in­te­grated into emerg­ing mar­kets through the ef­fi­cient and en­vi­ron­men­tally sound pro­duc­tion of a di­ver­si­fied range of high-qual­ity, com­pet­i­tive prod­ucts for food and for the feed industry.


Rootcrops, in gen­eral, are en­ergy foods. In recog­ni­tion of the im­por­tance of rootcrops in the hu­man diet, var­i­ous food prod­ucts from th­ese have been de­vel­oped at the Philip­pine Root Crops Re­search and Train­ing Cen­ter (PhilRootcrops) at the VSU. Re­cently, the di­rec­tion of its prod­uct de­vel­op­ment is to­wards nu­tri­tion and health, in con­sid­er­a­tion of the nu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies of mil­lions of Filipinos.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Julie D. Tan of PhilRootcrops, rootcroops have a low glycemic in­dex, which is good for peo­ple with di­a­betes, for whom rootcrops and their as­so­ci­ated prod­ucts can be sources of en­ergy, vi­ta­mins, and mi­cronu­tri­ent needs. This is sig­nif­i­cant given the rise in the num­bers of di­a­betic Filipinos. And this is a world­wide trend; based on In­ter­na­tional Di­a­betes Fed­er­a­tion and World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion data, around 380 mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to de­velop di­a­betes by 2025.

Rootcrops are also high in di­etary fibers, and con­tain min­er­als for the main­te­nance of body pro­cesses for good health.

In ad­di­tion, th­ese are gen­er­ally grown eas­ily even in mar­ginal ar­eas.

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