The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera together with the provincial government of Benguet, municipal local government unit of Mankayan, and farmer’s association-representatives from Buguias, Kibungan, and Mankayan witnessed the second harvesting of the Canadian potato varieties during the Potato Field Day on February 16, 2021 in Balili, Mankayan.
There are eight (8) Canadian varieties being tested namely Eva, Reba, Granola, Canibe, Chieftain, Kennebec, Caribe All Blue, and AR 201411. The field trial is undertaken together with the Manpat-a Farmers’ Association in a farm area of its President Mr. Basilio Ngas-eo in sitio Alam-am, Balili, Mankayan.
The seed tubers arrived in February 2020. This was planted in March and harvested early due to the damages caused by hailstorm and typhoon Ambo. 100% of the seeds harvested were planted in November 2020 for the second trial.
Through the varietal trial, OIC-Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey hopes that more local farmers will be interested to produce seeds so as not to depend on imports. Locally-produced seeds are also cheaper, he said.
“We can identify the varieties with good characteristics that are adaptable in our environment,” Dir. Odsey added.
Dir. Odsey encouraged the farmer’s associations to continue their active partnership and participation in the different programs of the DA noting that it is not always possible to have such programs and projects like the Potato Field Trial.
Moreover, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division Chief and High Value Crop Development Program Coordinator Ms. Joan D. Bacbac said that the Project is an avenue for the agency and the farmers to identify preferred varieties to produce in their localities and at the same time taking into consideration consumer preferences. The varieties were evaluated as to height, canopy cover, marketable and unmarketable yield, and pests and diseases. A taste-testing was likewise conducted.
A report will be submitted to the Prince Edward Island Potato Board and Embassy of Canada for their evaluation and analysis. This is a two-year project as per the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between DA-RFO CAR and Canada, Ms. Bacbac said.
“We are thankful to the DA because our Association was chosen for the trial and we can see that the varieties are all good and it provides a mix of choices for both the farmers and consumers later on,” remarked Mr. Ngas-eo. They are looking forward to producing more potato planting materials out of their preferred Canadian varieties so that they could share it with their co-farmers and for marketing as well.
Meanwhile, Ms. Bacbac lauded the Manpat-a Association for living up to the agency’s expectation to them as a partner farmers’ group.
“Manpat-a has grown so well and actively growing. Hopefully, you will continue to grow and become good role models for the smaller groups are looking up to you,” she said.//JBAgrifino