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Farmers to stop importing potato seeds in five years

The Sustainable Potato Program (SPP) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is aiming to reduce the number of local farms dependent on imported seeds in the next five years, an official of the agency said, Tuesday.

“Instead of importing from the other countries, why not buy it (planting material) from our local farmers? In the meantime, we need to equip our farmers,” Noel T. Provido, Regional Agriculture and Fishery Information Section chief, told TIMES.

Provido said the Philippines is importing potato seeds from China, Canada, Peru, and other top producing countries.

Part of the program is to train local farmers on how to manage potato seed system to ensure availability and accessibility of “high quality and disease-free” potato in Davao Region.

Last March 15, the agency turned over 17,000 kilograms of high-quality granola seeds from Canada provided by the Universal Robina Corp. (URC) to farmers in Davao del Sur.

In 2018, DA and URC signed a partnership for the SPP with the Gokongwei-led company donating about P5-million in potato seeds that could cover about 62 hectares of farms for potato seed production.

“Once the farmers can already produce their own seeds and they have the market, there’s no need for us to import anymore. That is the purpose of the project,” Provido said.

The project is guided by the five-year potato roadmap of the DA that aims “to make the local produce competitive against neighboring countries in the Asian region.”

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