Flora Montañosa highlights cactus love

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 12:00 AM    Views : 23by:TDT

Pretty but tough This cactus plant is just one of the varieties showcased during the Flora Montañosa event in Benguet.

Tough and hardy plants took center stage as farmers in La Trinidad, Atok and Buguias in Benguet showcased a plethora of cacti and succulents in all shapes and colors during the Flora Montañosa, a three-day event from 15 to 17 November at the Living Gifts Nursery, Alno, La Trinidad, Benguet.

Around 260 farmers and collectors from different parts of the country as well as officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Tourism, Science and Technology (DoST), the local government units of Benguet, La Trinidad, Alno and Benguet State University participated in the event, which was aimed to further increase awareness to the unique and colorful world of cacti and succulents.

“We organized Flora Montañosa so we could improve our cactus-planting techniques and guide us into what planting materials we should invest into,” Living Gifts owner Dan Saclangan said as the event was comprised of lectures, farm tours and a workshop.

Benguet Provincial Tourism Officer Claire Prudencio, who represented Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas, emphasized the sustainability of the cactus industry in the Benguet province.

“We are not just focused on agri-tourism of vegetables but also of different cactus varieties,” Prudencio said, assuring participants that they will have the support of the provincial government as cacti and succulent farming has the potential of providing livelihood to the people.

DoT-CAR Director Jovita Ganongan described the farmers as sellers of premium and valuable plants as these fetched high value and had a huge market not only in the Philippines but in other countries such as South Korea.

“There’s really a big market for it and it’s here in Benguet. If many farmers are involved in this profitable business, many Filipinos will succeed,” Ganongan said.

Foreign speakers shared methods of planting specific cactus varieties and trends on plant collecting, while the Bureau of Plant Industries, DoST and Masitera Lifestyle Gardening also shared their expertise in plant phytosanitary import and export permits, basic plant breeding and the importance of cactus and succulent soil composition.

Participants were also treated to farm tours in the Saclalan Cactus and Succulent Farms and Northern Blossom Flower Farm found in Atok and Buguias, while plant sales and a free grafting workshop also highlighted the event.


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