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BSU root crops center mass propagates outstanding processing potato varieties for commercialization

potato photo for web posting 2

The Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) based at the Benguet State University in La Trinidad, Benguet, the country’s lead research agency on potato, is now distributing National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)-approved processing varieties. Support is being provided by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), under the Department of Agriculture’s High-Value Crops Development Program, through the Bureau’s National Technology Commercialization Program.

The project titled, “Commercialization and Promotion of Processing Potato Varieties Through Rapid Multiplication Technique in Potato Growing Areas,” aims to mass produce, commercialize, and promote NSIC-approved NPRCRTC-developed processing potato varieties of good quality.

Considered a high-value crop and major agricultural produce in the Cordilleras, annual demand for potato in the country is about 745,000 metric tons. With the increasing number of fast-food chains in the country, meeting the country’s requirement for processing varieties is a great challenge for our potato stakeholders.

Quality clean planting materials, in the form of rooted cuttings or tuber seed pieces, are sourced from mother plants propagated through tissue culture. Of great importance to agriculture is that potatoes harvested from tissue culture-derived planting materials can be double or even triple the yield of those produced with the use of traditional planting materials and varieties. According to Dr. Ines C. Gonzales, project leader, the use of these planting materials will, in the long run, work to reduce the country’s importation of processing potatoes.

Among the available potato varieties, the NSIC-approved varieties, Igorota and Bengueta patatas, are considered as the best by Cordillera farmers because these are well-adapted to their localities, are high yielding, resistant to late blight, and have favorable eating qualities.

Dr. Gonzales shared that from a single potato stem cutting or G0 tuber seed piece can be produced more or less 6 to 18 tubers in 100-120 days after planting (the G0 seed potato, also called potato minitubers, is the first generation coming from potato microplants).

The 60 farmer beneficiaries of the project were first trained on how to manage potato clean planting materials before they were given stem cuttings as their initial source of planting materials. These farmer recipients are potato growers in the municipalities of Atok, Madaymen, Buguias, and Mankayan in Benguet; and in Bauko and Besao in Mountain Province.

The project produced 7,000 tissue-cultured mother plants with which mass propagation was done in a greenhouse to produce 30,000 stem cuttings. These were then distributed to the farmer-beneficiaries. Dr. Gonzales said that their facility can also produce 180,000 tuberlets from which G1 clean planting materials can be produced (the G1 potato is harvested from the G0 minituber as the next generation).

potato photo for web posting

Engaged in potato farming and one of the technology adopters, Ms. Dinah Cunning, shared that BSU provided them with 500 clean potato tuber planting materials that were planted in their farm. They were able to produce a total of 1,635 kilograms of G1 potato. These potatoes were then used as source of planting materials (G2) for other areas in Soquib, Besao. Ms. Cunning was also given technical assistance and trainings on potato production.

Mr. Robert Pakipac, another farmer adopter of Pactil, Bauko, Mt. Province shared that prior to the introduction of the technology, they could only harvest five tons from their one hectare farm lot. With the use of clean planting materials distributed by BSU, they can now harvest 10 tons or more. Both Ms. Cunning and Mr. Pakipac have committed to share the planting materials with their fellow potato growers.

Dam-ay Guinayen, municipal agriculturist of Besao, Mountain Province, has high hopes for the project, saying, “I am sure that this project would be sustainable and more farmers will become adopters thus increasing their income.” Mayor Johnson Bantog II also pitched in as he expressed his gratitude for considering Besao as one of the project’s research areas. “This is an important partnership to enhance the livelihood of farmers and to maximize the use of the technology so that our farmers will produce quantity and the right quality of the potato to compete in the national market,” he said.

As for their future plans, Dr. Gonzales shared that they are thinking of expanding the application of the technology in the Mindanao provinces with high potential given the suitable climatic conditions for potato growing, and extending trainings to benefit more technology adopters and stakeholders. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)

 

For more information, contact:
Dr. Ines Gonzales
Project leader
NPRCRTC-Benguet State University
La Trinidad, Benguet
Tel. No.: (074) 422-2439