DESPITE a decrease in strawberry production, ample supply of strawberries is assured for the annual Strawberry Festival of La Trinidad.
This year’s festival with the theme “La Trinidad: My Home, My Pride” showcases different activities that will kick off in March 4 and will run until March 29.
Some 1,102.5 metric tons of strawberries with an average of 22.5 tons per hectare or about 1.2 million kilogram was harvested in 2018 compared to the 1,237.5 metric tons of strawberries in the previous years.
Municipal Agriculturist Felicitas Ticbaen said for 2015, there were 55 hectares of recorded strawberry farm area but decreased to 49 hectares in 2018. A total of 660 strawberry farmers were noted compared to 900 farmers; 120 producers of strawberry wine, jam, and other related strawberry goods; 250 pasalubong vendors; and more than 170 strawberry ice cream vendors.
The decrease is attributed to different factors such as land conversion, climate change, lack of planting materials and farmers venturing to high value crops.
Among strawberry varieties, Sweet Charlie remain popular followed by Fiesta because of its sweet flavor.
Despite venturing to high value corps such as lettuce, pechay and other organic produce, the agriculture officer said farmers still intend to go back to strawberry farming.
Highlight of this year’s festival will be the replica of the giant strawberry shortcake which earned a Guiness World record in 2004 weighing 9,622.23 kilograms.
Councilor Estrella Adeban said for 2019, the town will bake 2.5 tons of cake to be baked by Valley Bread.
Adeban said the first 50 slices of cake trimmings will be made free while the rest will be sold at a minimal price.
For this year’s celebration, the town seeks to promote strawberry as the one-town, one produce of the Benguet capital town.