The Benguet State University-Northern Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center (BSU - NPRCRTC) is now a BPI-certified potato seed producer, another first in the Cordillera Administrative Region. This development means the Center can already provide clean and quality seed potato planting materials to potato growers in Benguet and nearby areas.
The Certificate of Accreditation by the National Seed Quality Control Services of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) was formally received on November 11, 2020. The certificate proves that BSU-NPRCRTC has complied with the findings and recommendations of the BPI evaluation team.
Dr. Juliet Ochasan of BPI-CAR who is a member of the evaluation team said that clients are now ensured of locally produced, quality potato planting materials because BSU - NPRCRTC went through the evaluation process and was found to be compliant with the potato seed production standards set by the government. She added that BSU is the first institution to be accredited in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Vice President for Research and Extension Dr. Ruth Batani said that BSU's accreditation is achieving another milestone, which is the result of the dedication and hard work of the NPRCRTC researchers in promoting sustainable agriculture. “This shows that the academe is a significant partner in the agricultural value chain," she said.
Prof. Jocelyn Perez, one of the pioneer researchers on potato in BSU and currently the Director of the Cordillera Organic Agriculture Research and Development Center (COARDC), said that locally available and quality seed potato planting materials would erase the notion that only imported ones are the best quality.
Cynthia Kiswa, NPRCRTC Director, said that the Center applied for an accreditation about 10 years ago but was denied because BSU is an academic institution. Still, the Center has been continuously producing disease-free potato planting materials through its tissue culture laboratory. The Center is producing 30 varieties of potatoes and supplies more than 150,000 potato seedlings to its clients annually. Kiswa expressed her gratitude to Catherine Balaoing, Agricultural Center Chief of the National Seed Quality Control Services of BPI, who facilitated the accreditation which took almost a year. Kiswa also said that the Center reapplied for accreditation to ensure continuous production of quality potato planting materials and encourage other potato seed growers in Benguet to undergo accreditation.
In support of their partner farmer, NPRCRTC assisted Leonardo Liwan Antonio and his wife Nuncia from Bakun, Benguet, in their accreditation as potato growers, which BPI also granted recently. Antonio is one of the farmers assisted by NPRCRTC in the mass propagation of potato planting materials using greenhouse technology. The planting materials are then sold to farmers for field cultivation.//Alma Santiago