9 farmers groups get strawberry runners

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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government recently distributed hundreds of virus-free strawberry runners for reproduction and subsequent distribution to their members in preparation for the upcoming planting season of strawberries.

Mayor Romeo K. Salda disclosed that each of the associations were given at least 85 virus-free strawberry runners which they will reproduce in strategic sites to ensure the availability of strawberry runners for their members in time for the upcoming planting season of strawberries to prevent scarcity of the supply during the strawberry season early next year.

He added that the virus-free strawberry planting materials were subjected to tissue culture in the laboratory of the State-run Benguet State University (BSU) under the program of the agriculture department for the reproduction of quality strawberry planting materials.

Earlier, some strawberry farmers raised concern on the possible inadequate supply of strawberries next year following the extent of damage inflected by the flooding at the strawberry farm caused by the heavy rains brought by Typhoon Fabian and the continuous monsoon rains.

Aside from the virus-free strawberry planting materials distributed by the municipal government to the 9 farmers associations, Mayor Salda claimed the local government also ordered some P500,000 worth of quality strawberry planting materials from California to increase the availability of runners to farmers during the upcoming planting season in the next 2 months.

However, he admitted that because of the ongoing restrictions being imposed by the different countries due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there has been a delay in the shipment of the ordered runners although the same had already been readied for delivery to the municipality.

La Trinidad is known as the major producer of strawberries after having successfully baked and presented to the public the largest strawberry shortcake which was enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records during the celebration of the town’s strawberry festival in 2004.

The local chief executive urged the strawberry farmers associations to ensure the proper reproduction of the runners so that there will be sufficient supply of planting materials to avoid possible shortage in strawberries during the peak season early next year.

According to him, a strawberry runner can reproduce around 30 to 50 additional runners that would guarantee substantial quality planting materials that could be shared by the strawberry farmers willing to produce the same in the upcoming planting season.

The mayor expressed hope that the flooding in the strawberry farm at the height of the ongoing monsoon rains will not be repeated in the future so that the production of sufficient supply of strawberries will not be significantly affected to ensure the stable supply of the fruit early next year in time for the celebration of the annual strawberry festival.

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