Press Release
October 31, 2013

10 Million Allocated To Improve Garlic Yield of Ilocos Norte Farmers

P10 million allocated to improve garlic yield of Ilocos Norte farmers, says Villar.

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar today said the Committee on Agriculture and Food which she chairs, was able to help garlic growers to secure P10 million to fund a research undertaking that will improve production of the famous 'Ilocos garlic.'

"The hearing was able to resolve a lot of problems suffered by our garlic growers. One of these is funding to improve garlic seedlings so that our variety will be more competitive," Villar said after the hearing held in Batac, Ilocos Norte yesterday.

During the hearing, Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala gave the commitment that he will approve the initial funding of P10 million requested by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU).

"DA officials will meet with MMSU officials next week, after the long weekend, to finalize this. We are very happy our Ilocos farmers are getting this kind of support from the national government," Villar added.n Batll approve the initial funding of P10 million requested by the Mariano Marcos State University i In her ocular inspection at Batac Public Market, Villar learned from Magdalena Domanais, 49, one of the vendors, that a kilo of locally grown garlic sells at P200 while imported garlic sells at P80 a kilo.

"We are hopeful further R&D will be able to make Ilocos garlic more competitive by cutting its production cost and by boosting its marketing as the better garlic than those imported from China," she said. Villar also said that Ilocos Norte farmers will now have a voice in the matter of importation by opening five membership slots for them in the National Garlic Action Team (NGAT).

"It is only fair that farmers who produce almost 70 percent of the country's entire garlic production will be represented in this body," she added.

It was Sen. Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos Jr., who questioned the incongruity in the 34-member NGAT. This prompted Alcala to open up five slots for garlic growers in Ilocos Norte.

During the hearing, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos enumerated the problems besetting garlic growers in the province, among them is the lack of infrastructure support and the need to adjust the planting calendar to adapt to the changing climate.

The governor asked the DA to study feasibility of planting crops that take shorter time to grow like kangkong, sitaw, mongo in areas usually devastated by typhoons.

Alcala also asked the local government of Ilocos Norte and farmer associations to identify farmers who the DA will train as accredited growers.

Villar said her committee will hold hearings again to address the problem of garlic and onion smuggling in the country. One of the possibilities they are looking at is giving DA police powers to augment the effort of the Bureau of Customs.

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