The Department of Agriculture (DA) and Universal Robina Corp. (URC) in the Philippines signed a PHP5-million program to boost the potato industry in the country.
In a ceremonial planting of potatoes at the far-flung village of Balutakay on Friday, Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said under the partnership the URC will provide high quality Granola potato seed imported from Canada, a widely-cultivated variety.
The Department of Agriculture, through its High-Value Crops Development Program, will provide farm inputs to identified potato farmers’ cooperatives.
Piñol said that DA will oversee the program implementation and will connect URC and farmers to research opportunities that will lead towards a more sustainable, science-based, and market-oriented regional potato industry.
“URC will teach our farmers the proper way of planting and during their harvest, URC will check the quality of their produce and will buy it if it will pass their standards,” he added.
The program also aims to help farmers get access to farm inputs such as quality seed and fertilizer, training and market opportunities.
Aside from DA and URC, the Bureau of Plant Industry-National Seed Quality Control Services (BPI-NSQCS) will also conduct and train potential seed growers to make quality potato seed available in Davao Region.
In 2017, the country’s table potato demand reached 380,333 metric tons while local production was only at 116,783 metric tons. This is a whopping 69 percent local supply shortage.
In the same year alone, the country imported 121,652 MT pre-processed fries, which is equivalent to 243,304 metric tons of fresh potatoes.
Source: Philippine News Agency press release