LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - The newly formed Benguet Nurseries Corporation (BNC) will try to solve farmers' perennial problems on smuggling by focusing on quality and quantity of produce here.

The BNC will upgrade the quality of potato by implementing new planting methods and importing new varieties.

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The BNC is headed by Atok Vice Mayor Marson Lay-at who was a former representative to the RP-German team for agriculture.

Augusta Balanoy, Farmers.Net representative said potatoes are the most problematic of all crops because it is the hardest to grow.

The BNC will be supported by the Cooperative Bank of Benguet as well as the Department of Agriculture and the Benguet State University.

There are now 31 members of the BNC. Its membership is still open for those interested.

Based on a research, when the price of local potatoes increases, the smuggled varieties flood the market leaving farmers with near zero gain for all their labor.

Balanoy said the BNC aims to bring in fresh produce by importing and by cloning the imported varieties. "It is only by improving the quality and quantity of yield farmers can compete."

At present, communications have been made to a company to outsource the needs of local farmers while forester Faustino Hermano has been tapped to start potato cuttings via test tube cloning.

Marketing of the group as well as the space for the local nursery has been provided by businessman Jack Dulnuan in a bid to help farmers in the area.

In June, smuggled goods flooded the market anew with smuggled produce now entering through ports at the southern part of the country. (Ma. Elena Catajan)