Ilocos Norte farmers eye Vietnamese technology to improve onion production

LAOAG CITY — As farmers here brace up for farm modernization, they also look forward to trying new things such as the adoption of a Vietnamese onion technology to boost their productivity.

An onion (allium cepa) grower like Benjamin Rambaud of Puritac village, Pinili town said he harvests onion barely once a year just after the rice planting season is over. He is using the same rice field to plant onion during the dry season as an added income.

Should he be able to plant onions all year round which is always on demand for every household, Rambaud would have earned more than double his income today.

To help out onion growers realize this goal, Edwin Cariño, head of the Special Projects and Development Office of the Ilocos Norte government said they are in close coordination with Ian Sedonio, a Filipino counterpart of a Vietnamese willing to demonstrate shallots cultivation technology in the province.

As part of the priority programs of Governor Imee Marcos to boost farmers’ resilience and improve their productivity, Cariño said they are eyeing for the establishment of an onion demo farm in Badoc town, utilizing the Vietnamese technology.

In Vietnam, onion farmers in Mekong Delta are able to harvest three to four times a year.

Backed by the Department of Agriculture led by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, the new Vietnamese technology which uses onion tubers as planting materials instead of seeds will be tested in Ilocos Norte’s onion growing towns for possible adoption by local farmers.

Unlike the seeds which took a longer time to germinate, onion tubers, as big as an average thumb and initially grown in a nursery, could be harvested after two months.

Should the Vietnamese technology works best in Ilocos Norte soil, an onion grower can have a yield between 12 to 15 metric tons per hectare or an earning between PHP720,000 to PHP900,000 per harvest based on PHP60 per kilo farm gate price.

Estimated cost per hectare is pegged at PHP250,000, including fertilization and farm development. This means a farmer can make a net profit of PHP470,000 to PHP650,000 per hectare per harvest. LEILANI ADRIANO/PNA/