THAILAND’S East-West Seed Group said that it will introduce new varieties of seed into the Philippine market where it expects strong growth due to increased consumption of vegetables.
In an interview, Michael F. Dela Paz, a product manager with East West Seed Philippines, said: “The market is growing. We’re expecting increased vegetable consumption in a market where Filipinos are known to be meat lovers.”
“For other crops some are being exported,” Mr. Dela Paz added.
He said the company is eager to introduce seed for the Roselle plant in the Philippines. Roselle has applications in tea making and can be a sinigang ingredient.
Another seed variety that the company wants to bring in to the Philippines is the purple yard long bean, also known as sitaw.
East-West Seed showcased more than 100 varieties of fruit and vegetable seed at the Villar Sipag Farm School in Cavite, to coincide with the Asian Seed Congress 2018 of which the Philippines is the host for the third time.
East-West Seed was ranked number one in the Access to Seeds Index 2018, a survey conducted by Access to Seeds Foundation, which is based in the Netherlands. The index evaluated 24 companies’ efforts to support the productivity of smallholder farmers.
The Villar Sipag Farm event was attended by Senator Cynthia A. Villar, East-West Seed officials and employees, and delegates from various Asian countries.
“These vegetables can help increase the income of farmers and also to improve the nutrition of consumers,” Mr. Dela Paz said.
According to Mr. Dela Paz, the hybrid varieties grown from the seed are weather- and disease-resistant.
A demonstration farm will be open to the public on Nov. 21 to Nov. 23, according to Mr. Dela Paz.
Meanwhile, Senator Villar, who chairs the committee on food and agriculture and is a re-electionist for the 2019 elections, emphasized the importance of the smallholder farmers during her speech.
Citing a report from the United Nations, Ms. Villar said: “The family farmers, and not the corporate farms will be the ones to feed us in the future.”
“It is my priority to break down the barriers that prevent the farmers from being competitive and profitable. Based on studies, these barriers are lack of access to cheap credit, lack of mechanization, lack of technical expertise, and lack of financial literacy,” Ms. Villar said. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio