The Department of Agriculture is joining hands with Ilocos region farmers and local officials to revive the country’s garlic (bawang) industry that has slumped in recent years due to the influx of cheap imports.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the DA will spearhead a consultative meeting next month involving farmers, local chief executives and other stakeholders to flesh out strategies to revive the industry.
The garlic industry roadmap will form part of the proposed medium-term Ilocos Norte agriculture and fishery master development plan, which the DA will also help craft in partnership with concerned provincial and municipal officials, farmers, fishers, and the private sector.
Alcala issued the call during a farmers’ forum at Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), in Batac, Ilocos Norte, attended by 2,000 farmers, fishers, rural entrepreneurs, students and local officials, led by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, and Batac City Mayor Jeffrey Nalupta. Also present were MMSU president Dr. Miriam Pascua, DA national rice program coordinator Dante Delima, DA-National Tobacco Administrator Edgardo Zaragoza, and DA-Bureau of Plant Industry director Clarito Barron.
During the three-hour forum and ‘town hall’ meeting at the MMSU theater and auditorium, Alcala approved an initial P25 million as DA’s counterpart to undertake several agricultural and fishery projects in Ilocos Norte.
He said reviving Ilocandia’s garlic industry could be done through strong and sustained cooperation among major industry players, as shown by the recent success of onion farmers particularly in Nueva Ecija, where the DA provided quality onion seed pieces, technical assistance and postharvest facilities worth P15 million to help prop up local production particularly in Bongabon and several onion-producing towns in Nueva Ecija.
Alcala said such assistance was coupled with the non-issuance of permit allowing importing of onion that would unduly compete with farmers’ local produce.
Alcala said the P15-million assistance to Nueva Ecija onion farmers was worth the investment as it generated more than P2 billion in sales and gross income, benefiting hundreds of farmers last dry season.
Coontinue reading at Philippine Star