Ilocos Norte ‘tissue cultured” garlic yields positive result

LAOAG CITY — Now, it can be claimed. Tissue cultured garlic grows well in Ilocos soil.

Showing a bunch of freshly harvested garlic from a tissue-cultured bulblets, Ronald Garalde, a garlic farmer from Burgos, Ilocos Norte has the biggest smile among Ilocos garlic growers here for becoming the first to deliver a certified virus-free garlic planting material ready for the next harvest season.

Garalde is among the selected farmer-cooperators of a special project being undertaken by the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna in partnership with the provincial government of Ilocos Norte and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) to produce quality garlic planting materials.

Starting with an initial 60 cloves of test tube garlic produced at the Institute of Plant Breeding, Garalde planted the tiny bulbs in his farm in Paayas village.

On Tuesday, a sample of Garalde’s second generation garlic bulbs were presented to Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos who was enthusiastic about the success of the project.

In two years time, Garalde expects to produce around 100,000 bulbs ready to be shared among Ilocos farmers.

After training some Ilocano farmers on how to plant tissue-cultured garlic, Crop Science Professor Lilian Pateña of UPLB said Tuesday they merely cleaned the planting material through the so-called tissue-cultured technology to make it resistant to pests and diseases. With a funding support from the DA-BAR, the test tube cloves were pilot tested in various parts of Ilocos Norte such as in the garlic producing towns of Pasuquin, Batac and Burgos.

For Garalde, his test tube garlic had at least 57 percent survival during the first trial while other farmers had around 53 percent survival.

As farmers were able to adopt the technology, Pateña said garlic farmers can now start producing certified virus-free garlic to boost their income.

“I think other farmers can also adopt,” said Pateña citing their intervention is very minimal.

“The tissue-cultured garlic only needs to be acclimatized before planting and the rest depends on the ways of individual farmers,” she said.