'POTATO CAPITAL' OF MINDANAO TAKING SHAPE

DAVAO CITY,
February 21, 2004 (STAR) Southern Philippines’ "potato capital" is taking shape.

It is an area in the north of this 244,000-hectare metropolis near the Bukidnon-Davao boundary popularly known as "Buda."

In this elevated, mountain cool barangay called Datu Salumay in Davao City’s Marilog District, an innovative project that aims to mass-produce planting materials of white potato is being implemented.

The cool breeze that caresses one’s being reminds one of the nippy air in the Cordillera, notably Baguio City, convincing one that the area is one place where a semi-temperature crop such as potato can feel at home.

The R&D project is being undertaken jointly by the Davao City government, Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit No. 11, and a farmer-cooperator, Arturo Milan, with technical and financial assistance from the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) headed by Director William Medrano.

BAR provides the greenhouse, planting materials, and other inputs. DA-RFU 11 assigns the research staff while the Davao City government provides additional funds and personnel needed for the identification of other farmer-cooperators for the mass production of white potato. Milan provides the area as well as the site development.

At present, the project is capable of producing 20,000 seed pieces with an eventual target of a million seed pieces a year.

"Indeed, the project has a great potential not only in providing livelihood to the people of Marilog District but also good quality food items while ensuring food supply in Davao City," said a BAR-commissioned extern program management review team headed by noted scientist Dr. Feliciano Calora. Others in the group that visited the "future potato capital in the south" were Dr. Arturo Argańosa, Rene Belen, Aurora Pecson, and Jeng Lapitan. – Rudy A. Fernandez


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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