LAOAG CITY — Garlic farmers are fast becoming agriprenuers with their direct access to buyers in Metro Manila.

Organized by the Ilocos Norte government through its flagship program “Paspas Dur-as Biag ti Away (rapid growth for rural areas), Ilocos farmers here are given more opportunities to expand their market share with the first batch of 20,000 kilos of garlic ready for shipping to Metro Manila clients.

Edwin Cariño, head of the Provincial Special Project for Development Office (SPDO), said they are now on the process cleaning and packaging the garlic thoroughly to meet Metro Manila standards. As a major producer of garlic in the country, Ilocos Norte’s native garlic dubbed as the “white gold” of the north is preferred by many buyers due to its pungent flavor compared to the imported ones.

As part of revitalizing the garlic industry, the Provincial Agricultural Office (PAO) in cooperation with scientist from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) facilitated the cultivation of resilient high value crops using tissue culture technology, which highlighted Burgos town as ideal location for planting garlic.

To assist farmers and ensure garlic price stability, the Ilocos Norte government also initiated a “buyback scheme” where farmers could sell their products direct to the provincial government and the latter would later on sell it to the national market.

While expecting more orders from Manila, Cariño also hopes this development would pave the way to improve Ilocano farmers’ welfare and livelihood whilst giving a significant boost to the agricultural sector and sustainable growth of the province. PNA/