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BSU developing new strawberry varieties

April 14, 2010

BSU developing new strawberry varieties


April 9, 2010, 4:31pm

The Philippines will soon have its own locally-bred strawberries as plant breeders at the Benguet State University (BSU) in La Trinidad, Benguet, are developing two new varieties whose yields and eating qualities are comparable to or even better than that of commercial varieties currently planted by farmers.

Professor Danilo Padua, head of the BSU Strawberry Varietal Improvement Project said that the two new varieties, which they call “Agsaba” and “BSU Piere,” can yield as much as 22 tons per hectare which is much higher than the 15.8 tons per hectare yield of the existing commercial varieties.

However, these two new strawberry varieties are not yet entered for approval by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) as these are still undergoing further evaluation needed for commercialization.

“Hopefully, they will be approved by NSIC for commercial planting next year,” Padua said.

Padua explained that the new varieties would help strawberry farmers in Benguet boost their production as these varieties exhibit good growth, are resistant to mites, and produce big fruits that are much sweeter than the existing varieties. Their latest evaluation revealed that these have higher sugar content, thus sweeter.

Aside from Agsaba and BSU Piere, Dr. Padua’s team is breeding two more strawberry varieties which they claim to have good agronomic characteristics.

In the last three years, BSU has been conducting researches to help the strawberry industry. Among these researches is the Integrated Strawberry Research and Development Program (ISRDP) which aims, among others, to develop and introduce new strawberry varieties. Padua said that strawberry farmers in Benguet use 30 different varieties imported from France and the USA with Sweet Charlie variety now being the most widely planted.

To help farmers produce good-quality strawberry, BSU is promoting the production of runners for planting materials in partnership with Highland Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium, Office of the Municipal Agriculturist of La Trinidad, and the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit-Cordillera Administrative Region. Likewise, it encourages farmers to use only clean planting materials such as tissue-cultured seedlings and to minimize the use of synthetic farm inputs.

Data from the Office of Municipal Agriculturist show that La Trinidad, being the center of strawberry industry in the Philippines, has 74 hectares of land planted to strawberry. At present, there are 550 strawberry farmers each cultivating an average of 1,300 square meters.

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