Unity key to propelling potato industry

A sense of togetherness and community was instilled to luzon potato stakeholders by Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña at the 1st Luzon Potato Summit on April 18, 2018 at the Gestdan Centrum, Baguio City.

USec. Laviña discussed in her speech the two points of action that will be highlighted in the 2-day summit, to organize a body that will represent the potato industry and the creation of the Philippine Potato Roadmap.  Anchored on President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate to provide food for every Filipino, the goal is to address the importation of potato in the country due to low production.

She reiterated that DA is now inclusive and is composed of different personalities to make up the potato industry. The DA has the Agricultural Institute (ATI), Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) as the main drivers of operation; the academe for the researches; the local government units (LGU’s) as they know the people better; and the private sector that watches over the DA.

“You may be a multinational company, a farmer, or just a labourer, but you’re part of the value chain of potato. The community is working hand-in-hand and serves as a check and balance. We’re going to deliver our services through the partnership we have,” said USec. Laviña.

The varieties of potato planted in the Philippines are classified as table potatoes but USec. Laviña encouraged the addition of chipping potatoes because of the available market. Chipping potatoes’ lower sugar content is ideal for making chips. An area with a 1500-2000 elevation is best for this and she asked for any takers to do the experiment.

Potato is a root crop considered as a staple food for other countries. USec. Laviña mentions that it is now being pushed as another option for rice and corn. Compared to white rice, potato is better due to its nutrients. The 3-in-1 crop has Vitamin C, Iron, and B-Complex which complements each other especially with Vitamin C as a vital component in the absorption of iron in the body.

She hopes that the summit could be an avenue where issues and concerns can be raised and also a place to talk about how to help each other. A healthy competition between farmers is also encouraged by her to liven up the industry.

“The only missing piece in the puzzle is you. We want you to be Agripreneurs just like Secretary Manny Piñol. Actions come from both sides. That way, DA didn’t waste resources and you didn’t waste time plus you have money at the end of the day. I hope you have a very positive voice so that we can move forward without looking back. Let’s do it happily!,” she concluded.

By Ayra Galanza

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