June 21, 2024

The government is exploring possible partnerships in fruit crop development in Spain, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The DFA said a high-level delegation from the Department of Agriculture recently visited the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) Fruitcentre in Lleida, Spain to look into its innovative agricultural practices and technologies.

The visit on May 2 was led by DA Usec. for High-Value Crops Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero, who met with IRTA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Josep Usall and Institutional Delegate Dr. Joan Girona.

The discussions centered on enhancing the quality, yield, diversification, and marketability of Philippine fruit crops both domestically and internationally.

“This initiative underscores the Philippine government’s dedication to strengthening the agricultural sector through global partnerships and innovative research, potentially leading to the establishment of a fruit research center in the Philippines modeled after IRTA’s successful approach,” the DFA said.

Another significant highlight from the visit was the introduction of new heat-tolerant fruit varieties developed by IRTA to the delegation.

The DFA said this can thrive in warmer climates like those in the Philippines, which “aligns with the DA’s strategic goals to diversify and expand commercially viable high-value fruit crops”.

Natividad-Caballero, meanwhile, said the DA plans to further explore IRTA’s operational models and discuss potential collaborations with the institute as part of the country’s efforts to enhance local agricultural practices.

IRTA Fruitcentre, a publicly-owned research institution, is known for its pioneering work in climate resilience, food safety, biodiversity preservation, and efficient resource utilization.

A major part of its strategic plan for 2024 to 2027 includes extensive research into sustainable production and transformative digital technologies. – PNA