SOGOD, Southern Leyte, March 14 (PIA)—Nearly a hundred farmer-leaders coming from different municipalities and city of the province who were gathered at the town’s gym here Wednesday for an orientation-consultation on rootcrops production got quality sweet potato cuttings ready for planting.

Aside from an obvious excitement to spread the word among fellow farmers to encourage them to plant as well, all the municipal/city agriculture officers (MAOs) attending the event were challenged to have their own nursery out of their 2,000 cuttings allocation per local government unit.

This will ensure a steady, year-round supply of planting materials so interested farmers will not be at a loss on where to get the source for the seedlings, said DioscoroBolatete, Senior Agriculturist at PhilRootcrops who talked on the topic “Nursery Establishment and Rootcrops Production.”

Bolatete also discussed cassava, another popular rootcrop.  Cassava cuttings, however, were not given to the participants, for the ones they had brought were intended for the nursery establishment of the Southern Leyte State University (SLSU), Bolatete told PIA.

The day-long activity, entitled “Rootcrops for Food Security, Livelihoods, and Climate Smart Farming,”  was spearheaded by the Visayas State University (VSU) which provided the choice cuttings, along with SLSU through its extension services, and the provincial government, said Marina Gador, Provincial Agriculturist.

Provincial Board Member Aileen Estrera spoke in behalf of Gov. Roger Mercado during the opening ceremonies.

Dr. Julieta Roa of VSU said there will be a series of trainings to farmers in specific towns of the province as a follow-up activity, so the subject on rootcrops propagation can better be explained and demonstrated. 

She persuaded the agriculture officers of the various municipalities to set dates for the schedule of trainings, and specify whether it is for production, labelling, or marketing kind of training. The MAOs gladly complied by submitting their suggested schedules before everyone dispersed.

Dr. Julie Tan, who discussed the “Health, Nutrition Benefits and Food Products” derived out of the rootchrops, shared her experience with those who claimed that sweet potato, along with other tubers, have anti-ageing properties, and are used for cosmetics and personal hygiene products.

She said in other countries, camote is the main ingredient for a facial powder and even lipstick.  (PIA8-Southern Leyte)