LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The lucrative strawberry production business continues to grow following the introduction of new varieties of the plant that will contribute in efforts in sustaining the robust growth of the trade beneficial in improving the income of thousands of farmers involved in the production of strawberries.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda confirmed that two Chinese strawberry varieties have been shipped to the locality and are now subject to tissue culture analysis prior to its being multiplied through available runners and eventually distribution to interested strawberry farmers once it will be proven that the same could thrive in the prevailing condition in the locality.
He said that one of the strawberry varieties that is in his possession is the so-called Snow White from China where its fruits are colored white while the other unnamed variety produces red strawberries.
“We are on the process of testing whether the Chinese strawberry varieties will be able to thrive in the prevailing situation in the municipality before we will subject the same to tissue culture and the mass production of their runners for distribution to interested farmers,” Mayor Salda stressed.
Aside from the Chinese strawberry varieties, the local chief executive added farmers in the town’s sister city in Jin-cheon, South Korea also signified their intention to bring in their strawberry varieties for pilot testing whether the same could thrive in the municipality to help strawberry farmers have alternative sources of runners in producing strawberries which are patronized by thousands of visitors flocking to the strawberry fields daily just to have a chance to join strawberry picking activities.
Currently, thousands of strawberry farmers rely on the Chuga and Sweet Charlie strawberry varieties as the source of the planting materials for their lucrative strawberry production which will be in time for the conduct of the town’s famous Strawberry festival by the middle of March every year.
La Trinidad remains to be the major source of strawberries being distributed in the different markets around the country wherein the strawberry season is from December to march every year considering that the strawberry plant produces fruits during the dry months and weathers during the rainy season.
Mayor Salda claimed that once the pilot testing of the production of the Chinese and Korean strawberry plants will be successful, farmers will have more options on which variety to produce during the planting season to help increase the supply of strawberries and cater to the rapidly increasing demand of the fruit during its peak season.
Strawberries could be purchased as high as P450 per kilo when the fruit is not in season while it could drop to around P80 to P100 per kilo when there is abundant supply of the fruit. Visitors wanting to avail of strawberry picking could be charged between P300 to P500 per individual depending on the prevailing situation in the town’s strawberry fields owned by the Benguet State University (BSU).
Salda directed the municipal agriculture office to closely monitor the developments in the pilot testing of the production of the new strawberry varieties so that its results will be properly disseminated to the farmers for their own consumption.
Banner photo by JOSEPH MANZANO