The major regional crop of the Cordillera Administrative Region or CAR is potato, where 86% of the country’s potato production comes from the region with more than 5,819 hectares planted to this crop (data from PSA 2018).
The Potato R&D Center is one of the three research and development (R&D) centers established under the Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER) Program of the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Science for Change Program. According to DOST-CAR, the said facility is the first center created to provide quality potato seeds farmers in the country. The center was launched last October 2019.
This initiative focuses on the following: the development of insect pest and disease management of quality seed production, enhancing micropropagation system for seed potato production, and application of improved cultivation system and storage to enhance foundation seed production.
Targeting the core beneficiaries, such as potato seed growers, farmers and processors, the project aims to characterize and manage quarantine insect pests and diseases of seed potato by improving the existing detection techniques of quarantine and other important diseases affecting the production of seed potato.
Focusing on improving micropropagation system, it can help maintain and sustain disease-free and true-to-type planting materials, specifically on establishing the optimal number of sub-culturing tissue culture plants, retrieval and characterization of the vanishing potential varieties, and in enhancing protocol on microtuber production.
Benguet State University (BSU) is the implementing partner institution of this program, where Northern Philippines Rootcrops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) Director Cynthia G. Kiswa serves as the program leader. This is funded by DOST-GIA (Grants-In-Aid) with a total budget of P31,355,154.56, with BSU’s counterpart fund in the amount of P4,138,800.00.
The Potato R&D Center will run for three years, envisioned to lay the groundwork for sustainable agriculture in the area of potato production.
The center will not only improve the quality of research of the implementing agency but is also expected to help improve the lives of the local farmers.
The center is a living proof that the application of science, technology, and innovation (STI) is very visible, that will give tangible results through the interventions for seed production and storage in producing quality seed potatoes.
Learn more about science and technology and more of other R&D Centers through the informative webinars, forums, and exciting activities in various fields, not only in agriculture, in the upcoming celebration of the 2021 National Science and Technology Week to be held from 22-28 November 2021.
‘’Agham at Teknolohiya: Tugon sa Hamon ng Panahon’’ is this year’s theme for the that will, once again, happen virtually due to the restrictions brought by COVID-19.
Just the same, the DOST continues to serve by bringing science, technology, and innovation to our doorsteps with the virtual staging of the 2021 NSTW. Keep updated! Visit the NSTW website at http://nstw.dost.gov.ph/ for more information. You can also check and follow the NSTW Facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/nstwdost.