Several rice farmers in Ilocos Norte are shifting their focus to garlic, known as the “white gold” of the Ilocos Region.
As a pilot site for the Ilocos garlic commercialization program, farmers in Bacarra who are active members of the Bacarra Zanjera Irrigators Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BZIMPC) in Buyon village are the latest recipient of PHP23.2 million garlic enterprise which include a garlic consolidation and trading center funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture.
The provincial government will facilitate the procurement, which provided a 20 percent equity to the enterprise.
Dr. Jovita Datuin, regional technical director of the PRDP and research division chief of DA Region 1, said Tuesday the Bacarra cooperative is one lucky recipient of the multi-million project which is meant to revitalize the garlic industry in the region.
According to Datuin, garlic has many uses not just in cooking but also as a medicine throughout ancient and modern history.
“Garlic offers great potential which can be processed for food seasoning and it is widely used for its medicinal properties such as in the treatment and prevention for diabetes and heart ailment among others,” she said, adding that garlic is also used as an organic dewormer for poultry and livestock.
Last Friday, the BZIMPC initially received a total of PHP11.4 million worth of farm equipment and utilities. These include 11 units of multi-cultivator, one tractor, 65 water pumps, 65 hoses, 65 knapsack sprayers, 11 grass cutters, and marketing support such as one unit of close Elf van and one delivery van.
This is apart from the provision of trading capital worth PHP1 million for the second trance already.
Once the garlic facility is fully operational, dried garlic will be consolidated, classified, bundled, and packed in the consolidation and trading center before delivery to the target markets. With a total floor area of 128 square meters, the facility has a capacity of at least 60 metric tons of dried garlic.
Records show that Ilocos Norte is the top producer of garlic in the Philippines, contributing at least 69 percent or 6,284 metric tons of the national output in previous years next to Occidental Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, Quezon, and Ilocos Sur. (PNA)