Philippines: Benguet potato growers double yield with seeds from Canada

According to the Philippines Department of Agriculture (DA), Benguet potato farmers reported a double yield with the use of potato seeds from Canada. “Farmers reported during the harvest festival that they harvested an average of 20 tons which at only P30 per kilo could easily earn them P600,000 in just three months and 10 days,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a social media post on Tuesday.

The seed variety was introduced through the Potato Development Program of the DA in partnership with Universal Robina Corp. (URC). “URC President Lance (Y.) Gokongwei came to the Office of the Secretary of the DA two years ago to request for assistance in importing the chipping potato variety which local farmers do not grow,” Piñol said.

URC brought in 100 tons of G-3 potato planting materials from Prince Edward Island in Canada. These were distributed in March this year to farmers in Buguias, Benguet; Talakag, Bukidnon; and Kapatagan, Davao del Sur.

Asked if there are other provinces that have expressed interest to be part of the program, Mr. Piñol said, “Yes we are getting requests from other provinces. We will check the prospective areas for crop suitability,” he told BusinessWorld.

The provinces include Negros Occidental, Nueva Vizcaya, North and South Cotabato, and Lanao del sur. Part of the agreement is for URC, a subsidiary of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., to purchase medium-sized potatoes, while the large, extra-large, and marble potatoes will be sold in the open market. Robinsons Supermarket, also under JG Summit, will purchase the produce. DA and URC are also looking into importing chipping potatoes variety for the production of URC’s potato chips brand.

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