LAOAG CITY — To boost high value crops resiliency to erratic weather condition and diseases, farmers in Ilocos Norte are the first to adopt a tissue cultured garlic variety grown in at least three strategic locations, covering the first and second district of the province.

The tissue culture garlic technology in the province is being undertaken through a special project of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna in cooperation with the provincial government of Ilocos Norte and selected farmer-cooperators here.

Edwin Cariño, head of the Special Project Office of the provincial government said the first tissue cultured garlic was planted in the garlic-producing towns of Pasuquin, Burgos and Batac City.

Based on initial field tests, Cariño said the Burgos tissue cultured garlic project is now growing successfully due to its favorable cold weather this season while the ones in Pasuquin and Batac with a relatively warmer climate got rotten.

As a result, experts from UPLB has recommended that a greenhouse should be established first prior to the transplanting of these tissue cultured garlic variety.

Cariño said the first tissue cultured garlic in Burgos town is expected to be harvested by the end of February or early week of March.

Whatever harvest from the field trial, according to Cariño, will be shared to all interested farmer-cooperators in the next planting season.

The development of tissue cultured crops in the province is one of the major concerns of researchers here to help uplift the living conditions of farmers by increasing their productivity amid threats of climate change.

In previous years, researchers from the Mariano Marcos State University first established the tissue culture laboratory in Batac City, which aims to rapidly propagate disease-free planting materials of high value crops such as garlic to cater to the needs of farmers in Ilocos region and to periodically produce a large number of plants that are genotypically the same as the mother or stock plants. PNA /