LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government and thousands of strawberry farmers are still searching for virus-free strawberry runners that will help in boosting the sustainability of strawberry production in the municipality.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda disclosed that the local government has earmarked some P500,000 way back in 2021 supposedly to purchase the virus-free strawberry runners from California but local officials were informed by the agent that the said runners were infected with virus which might affect the quality of strawberries that will be produced by the local farmers and will have a negative impact on the overall strawberry production.
He claimed that the local government is targeting an adequate supply of Chuga and Sweet Charlie variety runners to help in sustaining the availability of strawberry runners to guarantee the sufficient supply of strawberries considering the significant increase in demand for strawberries from the tourists frequenting the municipality.
The local chief executive admitted that once that there will be available supply of virus-free strawberry runners, these will pass through the tedious process of undergoing the required pest risk analysis and phytosanitary assessment and inspection to prevent them from bringing in virus that will affect the strawberry production in the municipality.
Further, Mayor Salda stipulated that the imported strawberry runners will be reproduced through tissue culture in partnership with the State-run Benguet State University (BSU) to ensure the available supply of runners for the strawberry farmers for the upcoming planting seasons.
La Trinidad is the source of majority of the supply of the famous strawberry being sold in various markets in the National Capital Region.
Salda emphasized the need to have new strawberry runners to address the problem of strawberry farmers on the alleged inadequate supply of quality runners that will help in sustaining the stable supply of strawberry in the markets as the demand continues to increase due to the influx of tourists with the ongoing ‘travel revenge.’
He assured residents and tourists that there will be adequate supply of strawberry in the municipality during the celebration of the town’s Strawberry festival that is expected to kick off on March 6, 2023 where strawberry farmers are expected to recover from the heavy impact inflicted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to their sources of livelihood over the past 2 years.
La Trinidad was able to land in the Guinness Book of world Records after concerned sectors joined forces to present to the public the largest Strawberry Short Cake in 2004 which paved the way for the robust growth of the local tourism industry over the past several years.
Mayor Salda expressed hope that this year’s face-to-face conduct of the activities of the Strawberry Festival will help in pump priming the local economy considering that the attempts to recover last year was impacted by the emergence of the various variants of the deadly virus which derailed efforts to achieve recovery from the economic slump.
Moreover, the mayor wants that the virus-free strawberry runners will arrive in the municipality as soon as there will be willing suppliers so that the old runners will be changed to help produce quality strawberries for the residents and the visitors.