• Ilocos town eyes top garlic producer tag

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    LAOAG CITY: A group of farmers here is seeking for the recognition of Pasuquin town as the country’s “garlic capital” after contributing the biggest slice to Ilocos Norte’s total output.

    Wilfredo Valdez, president of Vegetable Growers Association (VGA) for Region 1, said do- cuments are being prepared to be submitted to the Department of Agriculture.

    Valdez, also a member of the Garlic National Action Team (NGAT), said aside from the “salt capital of Ilocos Norte” tag, Pasuquin may also become the “garlic capital of the Philippines.”

    Located north of this capital city, the coastal town of Pasuquin is popular among locals and tourists for its famous iodized salt stalls lining the national road.

    “And top producer of garlic in the province, Pasuquin also deserves to be declared as the country’s garlic capital,” Valdez said.

    Reports released by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) on the national garlic output in 2010 showed that Ilocos Norte topped other producers of garlic in the Philippines.

    The BAS report stated that Ilocos Norte contributed at least 69 percent or 6,284 metric tons while Occidental Mindoro was second with 22.03 percent or 2,012 metric tons.

    Nueva Ecija ranked third with a 3.55 percent or 324 metric tons production followed by Quezon (2.93 percent or 268 metric tons) and Ilocos Sur (2.68 percent or 245 metric tons).

    A research paper released by the Don Mariano Marcos State University revealed that during last year’s cropping season, Pasuquin town alloted at least 620 hectares to garlic with an average yield of 2,382 metric tons.

    Besides Pasuquin town, other top producing towns in the province were Vintar with 278 hectares or a yield of 889 metric tons; Sarrat, 113 hectares or 332 metric tons; Burgos, 114 hectares or 399 metric tons; and San Nicolas, 110 hectares or 297 metric tons.

    Valdez said garlic is best planted between October 15 and November 15 to get its optimum yield and size. The Ilocos garlic white variety takes three months to grow before it is ready for harvesting.

    However, Ilocos farmers expressed concern on the challenges faced by the garlic industry such as lack of sufficient garlic planting materials, poor irrigation system and lack of sustainable garlic markets.

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