BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera approved a resolution endorsing the proposal “Precision Agriculture for Innovative Potato Seed Production Research and Development Center for funding assistance under the Department of Science and Technology’s niche center in the regions for research and development.
The RDC-CAR chaired by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan approved the said resolution after the Regional Research, Development and Innovation Committee (RRDIC) found the proposal to be meritorious.
The region’s policy-making body noted that potato is a commodity focused in the national harmonized research and development agenda 2017-2022 and is identified as priority area of research, development and innovation in the Cordillera Regional Research and Development Agenda for the same period.
Further, it stated that the establishment of a niche center on potato research and development at the Benguet State University (BSU) will significantly improve the productivity and competition of the region’s potato industry, thereby contributing to increase income of local farmers, and also contribute to national development through savings and foreign exchange as a result of reduced importation of potatoes.
DOST-CAR regional director Nancy Bantog disclosed that 86 percent of the country’s potato production comes from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) but the same is declining due to problems associated with the availability and cost of quality potato tubers, and as a result, about 243,304 metric tons of potatoes are reportedly being imported annually to respond to growing domestic demands for potatoes.
The RDC-CAR pointed out that the BSU Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center is reportedly seeking grant support under DOST’s niche center in the regions for research and development to upgrade its potato research and development facilities to enhance its capacity and capability to undertake more advanced research, development and innovation and support for the production of potato tubers for the enhanced potato industry.
The DOST endeavors to significantly accelerate science, technology and innovation through massive increase in investments on science and technology human resource development and research development through the Science for Change Program consistent with the Philippine and regional development plans of 2017-2022..
Bantog claimed that a component of the said program is the niche centers in the regions for research and development which provides institutional grants to higher education institutions in the regions to undertake significant collaborative research and development on a region’s basic commodity through upgrading, development and acquisition of research equipment and facilities.
Bantog stated that DOST targets to provide one niche center per region per year for the next five years to achieve the said goal of enhancing research, development and innovation in the countryside.
BSU submitted a proposal for the establishment of a niche center in the institution that will contribute in improving research, development and innovation of the region’s potato industry.
By Dexter A. See