Status of potato industry tackled during public and private sector meeting at PCAARRD

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna – Industry players from the public and private sectors gathered here recently to discuss the needs and gaps of the country’s potato industry in preparation for the development of a Regional Industry Strategic S&T Plan (ISP) for the said commodity.   

Held at the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) complex, the gathering was part of the Consultation Meeting cum Proposal Packaging Workshop for Potato R&D Program.

 

DOST-PCAARRD’s Crops Research Division (CRD) organized the meeting.   

Recalling several R&D investments of DOST-PCAARRD for potato, in her welcome remarks, CRD Director Jocelyn E. Eusebio shared the Council’s interest to revive the R&D initiatives on potato to boost local supply and curb importation. 

“We hope that we will be able to identify where we are now as an industry, what we have done, and what else needs to be done to strategically advance the potato industry,” Eusebio said. “We also want to know how the proposed projects can contribute in the realization of the ISP goals,” she added.  

Ms. Leilani D. Pelegrina, ISP Manager for Vegetables, presented the initially crafted industry plan for potato and discussed its technology chain from production to trade and marketing. She also highlighted the S&T gaps and the S&T interventions that the research institutions can work on to deliver the most immediate and beneficial industry impacts. 

Representing the farming sector, Daniel P. Sacley, a Magsasaka Siyentista and President of the Botiao Potato Farmers Association of Atok, Benguet presented the needs of the potato farmers in Cordillera. These include sufficient supply of quality planting materials, seed storage facilities, and relevant trainings for seed production. 

Experts from the Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center of the Benguet State University, Bureau of Plant Industry-Baguio National Crop Research and Development Center, Mountain Province State Polytechnic College, Central Mindanao University, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 10, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines, and University of the Philippines Los Bańos presented their respective proposals. 

The areas of proposed research will cover crop improvement, pest and disease management, enhanced seed system, facilities upgrade, mechanization, product development, and marketing. 

As an output of the activity, the participants will come up with a single proposal for an integrated Regional R&D Program for Potato. 

The program will involve the Cordillera Consortium for Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Research and Development (CorCAARRD) and the Northern Mindanao Consortium for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NOMCAARRD). 

CorCAARRD and NOMCAARRD represent the Cordillera and Northern Mindanao regions, which are the top two potato producing regions in the country. 

Through the workshop, DOST-PCAARRD key officials and representatives guided the participants to spell out the program’s indicators and expected outcomes. Among them are: 

• generate technologies to increase yield per hectare for both table and processing potato varieties;

• ensure sufficient and year-round supply of quality planting materials;

• provide site-specific varietal recommendations and good agricultural practices (GAP) protocol; 

• reduce harvest and postharvest losses; 

• increase income of potato farmers; and

• policy recommendations after the completion of their proposed market study. 

This activity is the first of the series of consultations cum packaging workshops that CRD will organize under the ISP for Vegetables this year. 

Representatives from the Agricultural Resources Management Research Division, Technology Transfer and Promotion Division, and Socio-Economics Research Division of DOST-PCAARRD also participated in the workshop.