Agricultural economy in Ilocos Norte faced a bright prospect as the first order of garlic crops weighing 20,000 kgs. will be shipped to Metro Manila in response to market deman, according to Edwin Cariño of the Provincial Special Project for Development Office (SPDO).
In line with its flagship program “Paspas Dur-as Biag ti Away!” (rapid development for rural areas), the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) has been intensifying support for bawang farmers and crop research, as garlic is considered the “white gold” of the North. Ilocos Norte is a champion garlic supplier at 69% at the national level.
Just last year, PGIN through the Provincial Agricultural Office (PAO) and with assistance from scientists coming from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) conducted the cultivation of better crops using tissue culture. It chose the Municipality of Burgos as a prime location for planting garlic.
Regarding the 20,000kg order of garlic, Carino said that the only task left to do now is to clean and package the garlic product thoroughly enough to meet Metro Manila standards. He added that the Ilocos Norte produce was chosen for its sharper scent compared to that of other provinces’ crops.
This was also the result of PGIN’s garlic buyback scheme launched last May 2015, in which the provincial government bought garlic produce from local growers and sold them in the national market.
Carino also expressed hopes that this development would pave the way to improve Ilocano farmers’ welfare and livelihoods while giving a significant boost to the agricultural sector and sustainable growth of the province.
This development is in line with Governor Imee R. Marcos’s vision reflected in her latest State of the Province Address (SOPA), “Itaguyod ang produktong sinauna—gulay, lasuna, higit sa lahat: bawang. National demand for garlic is at an all- time high, but over 90% is imported. Dapat dagdagan ang tanim na 6% dito sa ating probinsia.” —Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO