FARMER-beneficiaries of San Andreas Strawberry Growers Association (SASG) have started to transplant 5,000 tissue-cultured strawberries in their four (4) twin tunnel greenhouses provided by the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera’s (DA-CAR) High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) worth PhP2,000,000.00.
The SASG of Bilis, Sto. Tomas Central, Baguio City is composed of 23 members and three (3) among them have qualified to benefit from the greenhouse and tissue-culture strawberry package.
According to Samy Lang-ay, SASG president and himself a beneficiary, aside from the greenhouses, they also received the first batch of tissue-cultured strawberries – 500 bottles (10 seedlings per bottle), totaling to 5,000 plantlets that they have started picking from the bottles and transferring to garden beds.
For the second batch, they will receive 1,600 bottles (16,000 in total). The tissue-cultured strawberries (San Andreas/Kingberry variety) were obtained from the lab of Benguet State University (BSU), the partner agency of the project.
Lang-ay expressed his gratitude to the DA-RFO-CAR for the conduct of a series of training, set-up of greenhouses, and the tissue-cultured strawberries. He said that tissue culture will make the strawberries healthier, clean from blights, not easily infested with pests like mites; and hence, farmers will have more produce and income.
Meanwhile, after transplanting the strawberry seedlings, the farmers will then be waiting for one and a half months before planting these in the greenhouses. The farmers expect to harvest their first produce by December of this year.
Rosa Masing, an SASG member and a recipient, said that the greenhouses and the tissue-cultured strawberries have assured them that they can still produce quality strawberries in substantial quantities in any given season.
Lang-ay and Masing added that a portion of the profit will be allotted for their association’s fund and some of the planting materials will also be distributed to their co-members and other nearby farmers.
They believe that no farmer should be left behind and despite the pandemic, all farmers can produce quality strawberries and gain profit through this DA initiative. – by DA