Buguias, Benguet - Potato farmers from the Cordillera Region have doubled their yield earning an estimated P600,000 per hectare in 100 days by using modern potato seeds from Prince Edward Island in Canada.
During the Potato Harvest Festival in Buguias town, Benguet July 15, farmers said that the potatoes they produced have better quality and bigger than the traditional varieties that they have been using for decades now.
The Potato Development Program is a joint project of the Universal Robina Corporation (URC) and the Department of Agriculture whose inception started two years ago.
URC President Lance 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.
As support to the local farmers, URC volunteered to bring in over 100 metric tons of G-3 Potato planting materials from Prince Edward Island in Canada.
After a long wait, the seeds arrived in the Philippines in March of this year and were distributed to farmers in three areas - Buguias, Benguet Province; Talakag, Bukidnon and Kapatagan, Davao del Sur.
Under the agreement with the farmers, URC will buy the medium size potatoes as planting materials which will then be distributed to other farmers.
The Large, Extra Large and Marble potatoes will be sold by the farmers to the open market.
Farmers reported during the harvest festival that they harvested an average of 20 metric tons which at only P30 per kilo could easily earn them P600,000 in just three months and 10 days.
URC, through its sister corporation, Robinson's Supermarket, also said they are willing to buy the produce of the farmers.
The next program of the URC-DA tie-up will be the importation of chipping potatoes variety planting materials so that URC does not have to rely on imported potatoes for their Potato Chips production.
(Photos by Kathlyn Bahinting, Gian Carlo Luage and Darius Mangampo, Office of the Agriculture Secretary and DA AFID Biyaheng Bukid.)