URC, DA part­ner for po­tato pro­duc­tion

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - – Louise Mau­reen Simeon

Uni­ver­sal Robina Corp., the food and bev­er­age arm of ty­coon John Gokong­wei, has part­nered with the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture to boost the pro­duc­tion of po­ta­toes and help lo­cal farm­ers.

The pro­gram aims to in­crease the an­nual yield of po­ta­toes and scale up farm­ers’ pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“This is the first for any pri­vate cor­po­ra­tion to give out sup­port for our po­tato farm­ers. URC will help through the sourc­ing of seeds while we pro­vide the tech­ni­cal sup­port,” Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Piñol said dur­ing the launch.

URC will pro­vide 135 met­ric tons (MT) of high qual­ity im­ported Gra­nola po­tato seeds from Canada val­ued at P5 mil­lion to se­lect po­tato farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties in Benguet, Mt. Prov­ince, Bukid­non and Davao del Sur.

The com­pany is in­volved in a wide range of food-re­lated busi­nesses, or­ga­nized into three seg­ments namely branded con­sumer food, agro-in­dus­trial, and com­mod­ity food.

“Our job is to sup­port the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ob­jec­tive of as­sur­ing food se­cu­rity and en­sur­ing fair prices for both farm­ers and con­sumers,” URC pres­i­dent and CEO Ir­win Lee said.

“This ini­tia­tive ad­vances our multi-stake­holder sus­tain­abil­ity agenda to ac­cel­er­ate lo­cal po­tato farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties’ full eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits,” he added.

The seeds will cover 62 hectares and are pro­jected to pro­duce 2.7 mil­lion kilo­grams of po­ta­toes in the first cy­cle.

The seeds will be used for four pro­duc­tion cy­cles equiv­a­lent to two years, with to­tal vol­ume ex­pected to reach 337,500 MT of po­ta­toes.

Farm­ers will be given di­rect mar­ket ac­cess to Robin­sons Super­mar­kets, an af­fil­i­ate of URC.

Po­tato is a high-value crop pro­duced mainly in North­ern Min­danao, Davao and the Cordilleras.

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