Lahar-covered soil makes camote farmers rich
The agricultural town of Ablang-Sapang in Moncada, Tarlac is rising from volcanic ashes.
And its residents are learning that out of lahar grows the sweetest of sweet potatoes.
According Dr. Lilibeth Laranang, Director for Research and Development of the Tarlac College of Agriculture, lahar mixed with soil in the field made it sandy, the type of soil suitable for growing sweetpotato.
Now, Tarlac is the largest commercial producer of sweet potatoes in the country, with 5,600 hectares planted to the crop.
Losses are minimized by turning reject sweet potatoes into dried chips.
During harvest, farmers earn P325,000 from 250 sacks or 25 metric tons of sweet potato in a more than 2,000-hectare farm.
This year, Sapang had its first purchase order of fresh and dried sweet potatoes amounting to P30,200,000.
Sapang farmers plant sweet potato from August to March and harvests from November until June or July.
They said the key to a bountiful harvest is good soil preparation, and harrowing by tractor 10 to 14 times.