A focus group discussion (FGD) on highland vegetable was conducted at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Conference Hall in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet on February 27, 2018.

This was attended by representatives from the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU)-Benguet, Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU)-Bakun, MLGU-Mankayan; and farmer representatives from Cabacab Brethren Farmers Association (CBFA), Kapangan Adult Young Organization (KAYO), Bosigan Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BMPC), Mankayan Young Farmers Organization (MYFO), and Manpat-a Farmers Organization (MFO).

The said activity aimed to identify critical issues and technological gaps; and, establish priority thrusts and strategic directions on postharvest affecting high value crops particularly highland vegetables.

“Improper postharvest handling of high value commodities often results in quality deterioration and significant economic losses,” said Ms. Joan D. Bacbac, Regional Focal Person, High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). “Postharvest losses for vegetables vary between 20-50% depending on the handling and distribution chain. Furthermore, it is reported that an estimated value of 9-16% of produce is lost due to postharvest problems during shipment and handling,” she added.

Thus, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) initiated the activity to ensure the relevance of their programs to high value crops.

In addition, the FGD outputs will be used to come up with an updated framework and a coherent RDE Agenda for high value commercial development crops (HVCDC) such as fruits, root crops, among others and most especially highland vegetables.// Karen T. Gawigawen