Ilocano farmers are encouraged to plant more ginger should they want to diversify their source of income.

Ginger which belongs to the family of Zingiberaceae is one of the excellent spice crops that grows well in the Philippines. In the northern and southern towns of Ilocos Norte, ginger cultivation is a value-adding source of income to farmers.

With a high demand for ginger root both in national and international markets due to its excellent uses and benefits, the state-run Mariano Marcos State University through its Research and Extension department is giving ginger dispersal to interested farmers.

According to Sherlyn Bactin-Nicolas, a ginger coordinator of MMSU said Thursday each farmer-beneficiary can avail of at least 100 kilograms of ginger for a 1,000 square meter lot.

“For those who are interested to avail of our ginger dispersal project, you may submit to MMSU your letter of intent addressed to Dr. Prima Fe Franco, OIC President of MMSU,” said in a public announcement of MMSU Extension Directorate citing the letter “must be endorsed by the respective applicant’s Municipal Agriculture Officer and Municipal Mayor.

To date, the farm gate price of ginger is pegged at PHP45 per kilo because it is the peak of harvest season in Pagudpud and Solsona towns. In previous years, ginger is a high priced commodity in the market as it even reached to as high as PHP140 per kilo.

Through the ginger dispersal program of MMSU, Sosima Demandante of MMSU said, “we will make the price of ginger cheaper in the market because we have now cooperators who produce planting materials for other interested clients.”

Aside from training farmers on the proper farm management practices of ginger, MMSU also teach beneficiaries how to process ginger into tea powder, chewy candies and the like as value-adding products especially when there is abundant supply.

“We are very happy that we are part of this project and we are so much blessed for having a very good harvest,” said Teresita Vea, a resident of Bagbago village.

Showing her quality harvest of ginger to a monitoring team of MMSU on the ginger dispersal program, Vea was inspired to expand her ginger production as she initially planted just enough for her family consumption.

Considered by successful growers as a golden crop, ginger is widely used as a food spice as well as a herbal medicine. It is also used as a flavoring agent because of its unique refreshing aroma and medicinal properties.(PNA) FPV/LGA/EDS