48 Sweet Potato Products in Indonesia

Processed sweet potato products made by SPAT.
Filipino visitors sample sweet potato delicacies.
Sweet potato french fries is exported to Singapore
Camote delivered for processisng
SPAT is the acronym of an Indonesian company that specializes in processing no less than 48 camote or sweet potato food products commercially. In English, SPAT stands for Integated Farming Development Center found in Malang Regency in East Java.

We visited the factory recently and we were very much impressed by the wide variety of food products that could be made out of the sweet potato. These include brownies, french fries, chips, juice mixed with other vegetables, noodle, ice cream, powder for export and many more.

The owner is businessman Unggul Abinowo who is obsessed in making sweet potato as the national food in Indonesia. And for very good reasons. Sweet potato is the most nutritious root crop with the Irish or white potato running as a distant second. Sweet potato can be grown year-round and does not require a big capital. Even small farmers can grow sweet potato successfully.

Unggul Abinowo has 16 hectares of his own for growing sweet potato. But that is not enough to produce the raw materials needed by his factory. There are 362 contract growers who supply him 20 tons of fresh sweet potatoes every week. Seventy workers are working three shifts a day for seven days of the week.

The 20 tons of fresh roots are worth 40 million rupiahs. When these are converted into the different processed products, they are worth 700 to 800 million rupiahs, according to Endi Yatmo, marketing and business development manager.

Most of the finished products are sold throughout Indonesia. Only the uncooked french fries are exported to Singapore. On the other hand, the sweet potato powder is exported to Taiwan and Japan.

Maybe, investors in the Philippines could take a second look at the sweet potato and copy what Unggul Abinowo is doing in Indonesia. One starting point would be Tarlac where in Moncada alone there are 4,000 hectares planted to the root crop. We mentioned the possibility to Sec. Proceso J. Alcala at the recent Quezon City Country Fair and he said that would be a good idea. He said the Department of Agriculture could assist in providing the machinery for processing. But first, there has to be a serious group that would go into sweet potato processing.

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