Japanese firm to help revitalize Ilocos Norte’s garlic industry

LAOAG CITY — A Japanese company specializing in garlic products is in Ilocos Norte to help revitalize its garlic industry.

Represented by at least four Japanese nationals led by Kimio Takarada, president of Takara Inc., a group of professionals specializing in black garlic and other fruits, vegetables and processed products, the group is hosted by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte and the state-run Mariano Marcos State University to explore the exchange of garlic technology between Ilocos Norte and Japan and to enter into a possible partnership agreement.

Edwin Cariño, head of the Sustainable Development Center under the Ilocos Norte provincial government said Japan is known as a producer of bigger garlic and other value-adding products.

Through a garlic technology forum and partnership meeting set for Monday at the Mariano Marcos State University Hostel, about 80 garlic stakeholders composed of municipal agriculturists, high value crop coordinators, policy makers and garlic producers and processors will be meeting with the Japanese group to share their best practices and experiences related to production, processing and marketing of this high value crop.

Upon arrival of Takarada’s group at the Laoag international Airport on Saturday, they were immediately toured around MMSU’s food and innovation center, garlic warehouse, black garlic laboratory, Department of Agriculture Garlic Processing Center and other selected places in Laoag, Paoay and Currimao.

On Sunday, the group is set to visit Ilocos Norte’s garlic projects in various municipalities here including the garlic processing center in San Nicolas town.

Under the administration of Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa Marcos, the provincial government along with the MMSU continue to assist garlic growers to improve the quality of their garlic products and to further promote it to the international market.

In 2013 ,Cariño said research experts in the province had started the molecular characterization of the locally-grown Ilocos ‘white gold’ and other local garlic varieties and have them registered as property of Ilocos Norte at the Bureau of Plant Industry.

Ilocos Norte remains as the Philippines top producer of garlic, with an annual produce of about 7,000 metric tons of garlic bulbs or about 67 percent of the total garlic produce nationwide. LGA/PNA-northboundasia.com