Three Cordillera farmer cooperatives will be receiving free high quality potato seeds imported from Canada this February 2019.

This was made possible through the public-private partnership of the Department of Agriculture (DA) headed by Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol and the Universal Robina Corporation (URC).

This partnership aims to improve the sustainability of Potato Farming in the Philippines by helping farmers get access to farm inputs, training and market opportunities.

Identified beneficiaries of the project include the Seeds and Fruits Cooperative, Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative and the Buguias Water Works with members coming from the province of Benguet and Bauko, Mountain Province.

URC will directly provide more or less 81,000 kilograms of G-3 (generation 3) Granola seed allotted for the region out of the 135 metric tons (MT) that is set to be distributed in the potato growing communities in the country.

When these seeds are planted, it will cover a land area of approximately 40 hectares. Ardan Copas, lead of the Seeds and Fruits cooperative explained this can produce a projected volume of up to 10 times which is equivalent to 810,000 kilograms or 810MT for the first cycle.  He added that 50% of the total production will be allotted for seeds and the rest will be for sale or utilized as table potato.

According to Dr. Jesus Aspuria, Center Chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Cordillera, the assistance from URC is part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility and an act of gratitude to the government for allowing the firm to import processing varieties of potatoes.

In addition, Dr. Aspuria said that farmers can utilize the G-3 Granola seeds for planting up to the seventh generations since it is not prone to pest and diseases.

Moreover, BPI will conduct soil analysis in the identified areas to ensure that the soil is safe and pathogen free in order to produce quality disease free potatoes either for sale or for seed.

Also under this partnership, the farmers are also given access to the market by linking them to institutional buyers such as URC’s affiliate Robinson’s supermarkets.

In support to this initiative, the DA Regional Field Office Cordillera will be including the areas to where these seeds will be planted in their monitoring activities.

Other beneficiaries of this five million potato seeds are potato farmers from Bukidnon and Davao del Sur.//RDibdiben