As the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Region 2 shifts to a higher gear to take advantage of the growing global demand for ube powder, Regional Director Leah Pulido Ocampo, together with DTI Quirino Provincial Director Mary Ann Dy, and Product Development and Standards Unit Head Ragel Tacazon convened with Regional Executive Director Rose Mary Aquino and her team at the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office (DA RF02) to discuss the strengthening of existing convergent efforts to further sustain the production of ube.

The Ube Powder, under the brand JaBes, from the Quirino Young Entrepreneurs Association (QYEA) of Quirino Province, has successfully set foot on the Japanese market recently and has been receiving serious interest from potential buyers who are exporting to the US, and Canada, after it was launched during the International Food Exposition (IFEX) Philippines last year, where it received a “special citation” in the event’s Katha Awards.

The strengthened collaboration between the two agencies will focus on sustaining the production of the Ube Kinampay variety, touted as the queen of purple yam, and the variety that is preferred by the Japanese market.  The DA RFO2 has pledged to work on the expansion of Kinampay plantations in other municipalities of Quirino as well as look into possible areas in Nueva Vizcaya.

DA RED Aquino reaffirmed the agency’s support for this collaboration and directed the DA-Quirino Experiment Station to produce planting materials for the said variety of ube, while the DA-Cagayan Valley Research Center and DA Southern Cagayan Research Center will assist in the propagation.

Meanwhile, RD Ocampo directed the DTI R2 team to closely monitor the timelines that were set to execute the directions for this initiative, including the steps to meet the market entry requirements of the US market such as the USFDA certification, and US labeling standards.

The meeting between the two agencies was also attended by representatives from the Provincial Local Government of Quirino and Quirino State University, who are the key implementors and beneficiaries of this project. ♦

Date of release: 10 May 2024