DA assures Sarrat garlic farmers of P2-M aid

LAOAG CITY—Garlic growers in Sarrat town, about seven kilometers from this city, are excited to plant garlic this October as the Department of Agriculture assured PHP2-million worth of assistance.

Sarrat Mayor Remigio Medrano confirmed the assistance for high value crops and rural credit following the visit of DA Undersecretary Evelyn Laviña

Lavina was designated as the alternate of Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol as chair of the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) on Nov. 21, 2106.

As the DA Secretary’s alternate in the governing council, Laviña is tasked to carry out Piñol’s development agenda of providing faster and easier access to credit for marginalized farmers and fishers.

In a September dialogue with Sarrat farmers, Laviña vowed to release the garlic assistance fund to the local garlic growers association in Sarrat town, in time for the next cropping season.

According to Medrano, the amount will be utilized as capital assistance to farmers particularly in the purchase of fertilizer and pesticides.

Despite the major setback it suffered in 2013, garlic production in Ilocos Norte has recovered tremendously in the last four years producing an annual aggregate yield of 6,934.49 metric tons (MT), much higher than the actual average demand of 705.17 MT.

Luz Ortal, Senior Agriculturist at Ilocos Norte’s Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) in Laoag City, said the figure translated to a 903.37 percent sufficiency level for the commodity, showing that the province is now self-sufficient in garlic.

According to Ortal, garlic production declined in the last five years due to limited areas allotted to garlic, and the late planting dates resulting to erratic weather condition.

Research showed that garlic is best planted from October 15 to later part of November. PNA-northboundasia.com