For better yield and income, potato farmers in northern Benguet are expected to plant more of potato varieties from Canada after a bountiful harvest during their first trial.
The Department of Agriculture–Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR), in a report dated July 1, said planting trials of the new potato varieties with the Manpat, a farmers association in Balili, Mankayan town, and the Seeds and Fruits Multi-Purpose Cooperative (SFMPC) in Natubleng, Buguias proved successful.
Buguias is Benguet’s top producer of highland vegetables.
The report said the initial trial, which was four months to grow, same as the old variety, did not only show that the imported variety can thrive in the Cordillera, but its expected yield showed higher production compared to the usual one.
Under the Potato Industry Development Program of the DA-CAR and the High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) in partnership with the Prince Edward Island Potato Board and the Canadian Embassy, eight new potato varieties that have potential of thriving in the Cordillera highlands were introduced.
The DA-CAR partnered with the farmer cooperators to do on-farm research and gather data on the new varieties.
HVCDP coordinator Joan Bacbac said the varieties would be planted in a second trial later this year. The farmers will do further research on the characteristics of the imported varieties to assure a definite result before they are propagated and distributed for production.
DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey on Monday said the project “would be an avenue for the farmers to select varieties that would be appropriate to reproduce.”
“The DA is exploring the possibility of farmers producing their own seeds depending on whether it would be cheaper to produce seeds locally than to import them,” he added.
“Potato will be a general commodity that we will continue to support in the Department of Agriculture because it is one of the commodities that many of our highland farmers earned money from and this type of trial will be part of that support to our farmers,” he said.
Odsey joined farmers in Natubleng during the planting last February to test the performance of potato varieties under local conditions.
Last June 26, members of the SFMPC and DA-CAR representatives harvested their first crop using the imported variety.
In the DA-CAR’s report, it quoted testimonies of farmers who joined the testing for the new variety.
SFMPC manager Ardan Copas declared the trial a success.
“Our fellow farmers can adapt these varieties especially that they can now earn more money and recover previous losses,” he was quoted as saying.
Conio Copas, 45, member of the cooperative, said the new varieties yielded more than the traditional varieties they planted. (PNA)