The Universal Robina Corp.(URC), together with the Department of Agriculture (DA), provided quality seeds, training, research and development to boost potato farming of Miarayon Highland Farmers Association.
URC provided free table potato seeds of the granola variety which came from Prince Edward Island in Canada.
“It’s the first one since their involvement in Universal Robina Corp.’s Sustainable Potato Program, an initiative that complements the high value crops development program (HVCDP) of DA,” Philstar reported.
“Boosting potato farming aligns with the conglomerate-wide transformation of JG Summit Holdings Inc. to put sustainability at the core of its business,” report added.
“The support we received from DA and URC gave us access to quality planting materials that we can’t get on our own. This program was really helpful to us,” Ryan Danio, president of Miarayon Highland Farmers Association, said.
Moreover, 250,000 metric tons (MT) of potato were harvested from more than 5,000 seeds per hectare.
Respectively, a potato farmer can earn up to P2.2 million per hectare in three months.
“Some seed varieties are available to us but since they generate less yield, they cannot provide for our needs. That’s the big difference,” Danio mentioned.
Under the program, potato farming in Bukidnon, Benguet, Mountain Province, and Davao were also boosted.
” In the Cordillera region, farmers reported harvesting an average of 20 metric tons. This could earn them up to P600,000 if they could sell their produce up to P30 per kilo. ‘Before, the production cost versus our income would only break even,'” Seeds and Fruits Multi-purpose Cooperative general manager Ardan Copas said.
” The potato industry is key to a stronger overall agriculture sector. In 2017, the country’s demand for table potatoes reached 380,333 MT. That same year, the country produced only 116,783 MT, 69 percent short of the country’s potato demand,” report stated.
Joan Bacbac, the Cordillera region’s HVCDP regional focal person imparted the program of URC in providing high-quality seed.
“The government provides seeds but these are not enough to boost potato farming so we have to support these by importing seeds. Hopefully, farmers will be able to produce their own seeds with the help of this program,” she said.