February 25, 2024

KIBUNGAN, Benguet – The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera and the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) of Benguet, Kibungan Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMAG), and the Barangay Madaymen, spearheaded a consultation with strawberry growers here.

The consultation aimed to engage with local farmers, specifically those involved in strawberry cultivation, to understand their farming practices and provide recommendations for adopting proper strawberry farming techniques.

The initiative also sought to promote the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices in response to the growing recognition of Madaymen as a hub for quality strawberries, ensuring both high-quality yield and food safety.

Felix Titiwa of OMAG said based on data, 50 percent of Madaymen’s farmers are involved in strawberry cultivation, underscoring the necessity for a comprehensive discussion on best practices.

A total of 150 strawberry growers participated in the dialogue, showcasing the community’s interest in enhancing their farming methodologies.

The agenda co-vered discussions on pests and diseases management specific to strawberries, facilitated by Tyron Dagdag of OPAG.

Insights into marketing strategies and opportunities were shared by industry experts Iloisa Romaroag, the owner of Session Groceries, and Harold Lu of the World Food Expo.

One essential component of the meeting involved the update of the masterlist of strawberry growers.

Lloyd Edward Celo of DA-Cordillera emphasized the significance of maintaining an accurate list, as it serves as a foundation during stakeholder planning sessions and aids in proposing targeted interventions.

This not only benefits the community but also ensures eligibility for government interventions.

Denialyn Piset of OMAG encouraged the farmers to apply for the Registry System for Basic Sector in Agriculture.

This system, designed to capture essential information about individuals engaged in agriculture, serves as a vital tool for effective planning and resource allocation.

The strawberry varieties cultivated in Madaymen include San Andreas or King Berry and Honeoye.

Farmers expressed their appreciation for the learning opportunities provided and the platform to voice their concerns to the government. The initiative underscores the commitment of government agencies and local stakeholders to empower farmers and elevate agricultural practices in Madaymen, ensuring sustainable growth and prosperity for the community. – Leny D. Mendoza