Ilocos Norte aims 20% hike in garlic produce

LAOAG CITY — In time for the October planting season, garlic farmers here are being encouraged to expand their production area as the province aims to deliver at least 20 percent or 26,000 metric tons of the national market demand.

Garlic demand in the Philippines, based on national statistics report, is approximately 128,000 metric tons per year.

As one of the country’s major garlic producers, Ilocos Norte’s garlic industry remains threatened by cartel which government authorities here are trying to suppress.

“Garlic is a potential product we should look into. Our production target is doable,” said provincial board member Vicentito Lazo as he urged farmers to help fight cartel, a long time problem in the agriculture industry which, he said, needs to be taken seriously.

This planting season, the state-run Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Ilocos Norte government, Department of Agriculture (DA) and a Japanese firm that specializes in garlic products, had started an experimental project to produce bigger and more resilient garlic bulbs.

Dr. Shirley Agrupis, MMSU president, said Wednesday the new garlic seed materials from Japan would be pilot tested at the MMSU and in Burgos town using Ilocos Norte and Japan technology.

Prior to the arrival of the garlic seed materials from Japan, a soil analysis was conducted to determine the appropriate technology.

Agrupis hopes the experimental farm will yield positive result to help garlic farmers produce more.

In support to the garlic industry, Senator Cynthia Villar has also pledged to allocate some Php 57 million to improve the quality of production.

During the last planting season, about 1,876 hectares were planted with garlic with an average yield of 6,000 metric tons.