To respond to the increasing marketability of the Philippine-grown root crop dioscorea alata commonly known as ‘ube’ or yam, the Northern Philippines Root Crops Research and Training Center (NPRCRTC) conducted a Purple Yam Production Training at the Ganza Hall, NPRCTRC Bldg. on January 30-31, 2024.
According to NPRCRTC Director Cynthia G. Kiswa, purple yam is an emerging international trend in the food industry with its distinctive purple color and starchy flavor.
Further, it plays a pivotal role in ensuring food security, serving as a cash crop, and generating employment opportunities in areas where it is cultivated and processed.
“Upon completion of the training, participants will gain insights into improved technology for propagating high-quality planting materials of preferred ube varieties,” she said.
In his message, CHED-CAR Director Demetrio P. Anduyan Jr. expressed his commendable approval of the event, promising CHED-CAR’s steadfast commitment to Benguet State University in the advancement of knowledge and skills in agricultural and production practices.
Apart from the growing demand for purple yam in both domestic and international markets, Anduyan also reminded the participants that various root crops like ube, sustained our forefathers who settled in the mountainous regions of the Cordilleras, during the war, and at the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He further explained that these types of training are crucial in the aim to mitigate hunger and combat poverty in the countryside which are among the main reasons why people join into insurgency.
Anduyan also expressed his concern on the gradual decline of young people who wanted to venture into agriculture because of two major reasons: that they can’t see it as a viable livelihood that leads to overall life improvement, and that the current challenges faced by farmers such as oversupply leads to food waste without profit.
“It is high time for us to make agriculture sexy, enthusing, and interesting so that the younger generation will go back to farming and be proud of farming as a profession because of its dignity to bring food to every person in every home,” he challenged.
As for the latter, Anduyan expressed his expectation for Benguet State University along with the other CAR State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to continue the path of discovering innovations for food production to prevent wasted farmers’ produce from going to waste.
“SUCs must be at the forefront in addressing all of these problems because you are the knowledge and technology production centers in your areas,” he said.
During the closing program, the participants expressed gratitude to the training organizers and the resource persons and shared their insights gained throughout the event.
“As a student taking BSA, this training is helpful for us to understand that the production and utilization of this crop is important so the next generation will benefit and continue to practice the purple yam production,” expressed Venus Larwan, a BS Agriculture student and training participant. Larwan is also committed to applying and sharing the knowledge and skills she learned.
Juliet Damsa, a first-time trainee of purple yam production, recognized the significance and impact of yam cultivation. "Purple yam production has a bright and promising future if all farmers will engage in it,” she said.
Damsa also shared that the activity provided an opportunity for the participants to develop research topics related to purple yam, emphasizing it would contribute to the improvement and increased yield of purple yam.
Teresita D. Masangcay, Chief of the Crop Management & Seed Production Division of NPRCRTC, assured support and technical assistance to students planning to conduct research on purple yam and other root crops.
BSU personnel along with several agriculture students majoring in agronomy attended the said event. // EMBawayan, CANapiloy