Agricultural economy in Ilocos Norte shows promise as the first order of garlic from Metro Manila has been placed amounting to 20,000kg, according to Mr. Edwin Carino of the Provincial Special Project for Development Office (SPDO).
In line with its flagship program “Paspas Dur-as Biag ti Away!” (rapid development for rural areas), the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) has been intensifying support for bawang farmers and crop research, as it is considered the “white gold” of the North. Ilocos Norte is a champion garlic supplier at 69% at the national level.
Just last year, PGIN through the Provincial Agricultural Office (PAO) and with assistance from scientists coming from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) conducted the cultivation of better crops using tissue culture, which highlighted the Municipality of Burgos as a prime location for planting garlic.
Regarding the 20,000kg order of garlic, Carino shared that the only task left to do now is to clean and package bawang thoroughly enough to meet Metro Manila standards. He shared that the Ilocos Norte produce was chosen for its sharper scent compared to that of other provinces’ crops.
This was also resultant of PGIN’s garlic buyback scheme launched last May 2015, wherein the provincial government began buying garlic produce from local growers and selling them on the national market.
Carino also expressed his hopes that this development would pave the way to improve Ilocano farmers’ welfare and livelihoods whilst giving a significant boost to the agricultural sector and sustainable growth of the province.
This development is a completion of Governor Imee R. Marcos’s vision reflected in her latest State of the Province Address (SOPA), “Itaguyod ang produktong sinauna—gulay, lasuna, higit sa lahat: bawang. National demand for garlic is at an all- time high, but over 90% is imported. Dapat dagdagan ang tanim na 6% dito sa ating probinsia.” —Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO