Ilocos garlic growers are optimistic of the prospects of the garlic industry as they are about to market peeled and powdered garlic to Jollibee and Splash Foods Corp at 13.5 metric tons (MT) per month.
The Sinait Garlic Center of the North Producers Cooperative (SGC-NPC) in Ilocos Sur is set to start its sale of eight MT of peeled garlic per month to Jollibee and peeled, four MT per month, and powdered garlic per month, 1.5 MT, to Splash by June this year.
“Jollibee is conducting leadership a training and entrepreneurial skills session for us. It just opened an opportunity for us to sell them eight tons of garlic a month,” said Reginald I. Yadao, SGC-NPC project coordinator.
Many agencies have embarked on projects supporting the garlic industry in Ilocos.
Garlic has been considered a seriously threatened industry. The Philippines has been import-dependent in garlic for some time now. Imports peaked to 55,000 MT in 2008.
While imports fell to 18,000 MT in 2010, and further down to 8,000 MT in 2011, local garlic production has remained flat at 10,000 MT over the last five years.
A P3 million garlic technology commercialization program has been funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in an aim to revive garlic production in Ilocos.
The program offers garlic growers a competitive market advantage through their processing of garlic into garlic bulbs, noodles, pickles, flakes, chips, and polvoron.
“We should continue to support planting of crops that are adversely affected by imports like garlic. Ilocos farmers remain committed to planting garlic. We’re strengthening their competitiveness through value adding and we’re helping farmers turn into entrepreneurs,” according to BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar.
The Sinait cooperative is just awaiting the unfreezing (on hold due to election ban) of a P400,000 assistance from the Department of Labor and Employment to be able to acquire the equipment needed for the peeled and powdered garlic.
Moreover, the SGC-NPC is urging government to fund more research and development projects specifically for garlic seeds.
“Seeds have always been our problem. We just keep on using the same seeds season after season. Garlic is the only crop that has no hybrid. Even onion has hybrid seeds,” said Yadao.
For the equipment, it needs a garlic separator, peeler, and slicer. It will soon have one unit each of these three machines. But Yadao said the cooperative needs more units in order to supply an expected growing requirement. The peeler’s capacity is at 15 to 20 kilos per hour.
SGC-NPC is in a separate agreement to supply seven MT of garlic to the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperative (NSCC), a consolidator of crops.
To be able to serve well traders like NSCC, the cooperative also seeds assistance from the Department of Agriculture on the acquisition of a refrigerated van.
This is needed to retain the freshness and quality of the garlic when it is transported from Ilocos to Metro Manila.
The Sinait farmers will need a similar program on garlic production as that of BAR’s garlic project which raised garlic yield in pilot areas to a high of 4,284 in garlic seasons from 2008 to 2011.
The farmers in the BAR program– MCM Garlic Growers Assn, Pasuquin Farmers Garlic and Onion Growers Assn, Vintar Garlic Growers Assn, and San Nicolas Bawang Assn.—earned a net income of P171,540 per hectare. Traditional farms only earned P100,000 per hectare.
Yadao said Sinait farmers need new technologies in garlic production as climate change—characterized by a typhoon last December and heavy rains in January—caused production to decline.
“We were expecting five to six tons per hectare in the cropping early this year, but we only had two tons,” he said.
BAR’s garlic project in Ilocos Norte hit a yield of 4,340 kilos per hectare in technology demonstration sites. This is compared to the yield of only 3,160 kilos for farmers that continued with their traditional practice.
Local government units (LGUs) in the Ilocos Region want to revive Ilocos’s being known as a garlic producer.
Sinait Mayor Marlon B. Ines has so far poured in P500,000 to boost the town’s garlic production where garlic is a One Town One Product (OTOP) good.
An OTOP good is supported with funds and programs on production, marketing, and linkages as an OTOP identifies an LGU as a high-quality producer of that good.
BAR’s garlic project with the Ilocos Integrated Agricultural Research Center (ILIARC) adopted Good Agricultural Practice, Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and processing-enterprise development programs, according to ILIARC and DA Region 1 leaders Luciana T. Cruz and Wilhelmina P. Castaneda.
Farmers have been able to sell in 2012 a total of 2,000 kilos of garlic at P120 per kilo. Their gross income was P240,000 and net income, P90,000. Cost per kilo was P65. This included P130,000 for production; P12,000, labor for clove separation; and P7,000, transportation cost.
There are three remaining garlic-producing provinces in the country—Batanes, Mindoro, and Ilocos.
BAR-ILIARC’s project aimed to restore Ilocos’s glory as a garlic producer in light of the fact that its contribution to national production has been declining. From its 73 percent contribution in 2008, this dropped to 68 percent in 2010.
Package of technology
BAR-ILIARC’s package of technology included IPM practices like the use of Fish Amino Acid or Bagoong spray for thrips and mites. Farmers used Palmolive green aloe vera mixed with water to control mites. Green muscardine fungus was used as biological control for lepidopterous pests. The Makabuhay herb was soaked in water and used as spray to control pests.
Naturally-occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, was used as spray to control lepidopterous pests.
The bio-fertilizer Vital N was mixed with water. Garlic clove seeds were soaked for 30 minutes in this mixture, dried, and planted within 24 hours.
Farmers were able to harvest garlic 110 to 120 days after planting. The harvested bulbs were sun-dried for seven to 10 days. Each layer of bulbs was covered with a succeeding layer of bulbs to avoid garlic scalding. They were then bundled and hanged under shade until fully dried.
The garlic bulbs were cleaned and stored in between lagundi leaves for better storage.
Garlic flakes and chips were produced using extra large and large bulbs. Smaller bulbs were used for garlic powder and pickles.
The processed garlic–including miki noodles, pickles, flakes, chips, polvoron—became a favorite in trade fairs joined by the cooperatives. Equipment used were peeler-slicer, mechanical dryer, pulverizer, form-fill seal, vertical sealer, and cooking utensils.
Garlic is nutrient-rich and is widely known as hypertension reliever.
It has many health benefits with its bulbs “organic thio-sulfinite compounds such as diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and allyl propyl disulfide that can form allicin by enzymatic reaction which is activated by crushing bulb disruption (crushing, cutting),” according to Nutrition-and-You.com (NAYC)
The often claim that garlic is good in fighting cholesterol is attributed by laboratory studies on allicin as it blocks HMG-CoA reductase enzume within the liver cells.
“Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide. It blocks plately clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels which helps decrease the overall risk from coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular diseases, and stroke,” said the NAYC.
Other health benefits are decrease in incidence of stomach cancer; antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities; and its being one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium—the heart-healthy mineral that is important for antioxidant enzymes.
It contains many flavonoid anti-oxidants like carotene beta, zea-xanthin, and vitamins like vitamin-C. It has been used traditionally as a cure for cold, cough, bronchitis, while garlic oil is used to cure fungal dermatitis infection of skin
As a food enhancer, it flavors vegetable, meat and seafood; used as a spicy pungent flavor for Bruschetta (bread toasted and topped with garlic paste and olive oil and pepper); mixed with soups, chutney, and sauces; used like vegetable with its garlic tops just like scallions and chives.
(For any questions, please call Mr. Reginald I. Yadao, 09068628681; for interview requests, 0916-266-6604)