Filipina: New potato varieties to boost production in the Philippines
Two leading research institutions have partnered to help increase potato production in the Philippines, in order to meet the increasing demand for the commodity that is also fuelled by the proliferation of more fast food establishments in the country
Through its National Technology Commercialization Program, the Department of Agriculture- Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) is supporting the Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) based at the Benguet State University in La Trinidad, Benguet, in producing high-yielding potato varieties for growing by farmers, initially in Mountain Province.
The NPRCRTC’s project is the “Commercialization and Promotion of Processing Potato Varieties through Rapid Multiplication Technique in Potato Growing Areas,” which has so far produced 30,000 stem cuttings from 7,000 tissue-cultured mother plants.
According to Ines Gonzales, project leader, the use of the planting materials will, in the long run, help reduce the country’s import of potatoes for processing.
Among the available potato varieties, the varieties “Igorota” and “Bengueta” are considered the best by Cordillera farmers because these are well-adapted to the local conditions, are high yielding, resistant to late blight and have favorable eating qualities.
The two varieties have been approved by the National Seed Industry Council.
Sixty farmer-beneficiaries of the project have already been trained on how to manage clean planting materials before they were given stem cuttings as their initial source of planting materials. The beneficiaries are potato growers from the municipalities of Atok, Madaymen, Buguias, and Mankayan in Benguet; and in Bauko and Besao in Mountain Province.