STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan: Bounties of the land and of water will be showcased in a five-day product exposition of farmers and fisherfolk here from March 28 to April 1, an event described by organizers as “a curtain-raiser for the colorful and meaningful Pistay Dayat, dubbed as Pangasinan’s ‘mother of all festivals’.”
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol has been invited to open the festivities to be held at the sprawling 5-hectare nursery of the provincial government in Barangay Tebag of this town, the province’s rice granary. Gov. Amado I. Espino III will join him, along with regional and provincial agriculture officials.
A wide array of the province’s farm and fish crops—from rice, corn, watermelon, mango, and vegetables and from bangus, considered Pangasinan’s pride, tilapia, gourami and hito to the tasty carabeef —will adorn the booths of the agro-industrial trade exposition, provincial agriculturist and chief event organizer Dalisay Moya said.
Dubbed “Umaani Expo 2017,” the event will also showcase latest farm technology innovations being used by the farming community, including upgraded services system of the provincial government to further improve the quality of crops yield and increase farmers’ income.
For the past three consecutive years, Pangasinan won acclaim as one of the country’s top three achievers in rice and corn production. Pangasinan has long laid claim to the title as “the foodbasket of northern Philippines.”
Keeping a careful watch on agricultural production, the governor programmed as early as October last year the installation of a series of shallow deep wells with water pumps in rain-dependent farmlands as part of the provincial government’s intensified irrigation program. The program started with a P100-million fund allocation by the previous administration of Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., now 5th district congressman of Pangasinan.
The province’s agriculture office has also ventured into high-value mushroom and silage production, tilapia culture and food processing.
Only recently, Gov. Espino III led the massive dispersal of 300,000 tilapia fingerlings in the mouth of the giant re-regulating pond of the San Roque power dam facility. The dispersal will beef up fish stock along the Agno River and downstream waterways connected to the integrated irrigation system of the National Irrigation Administration, which are expected to supply water to 32,000 more hectares of farmland in Pangasinan.
Among the unique events at the festival is the siling labuyo-eating contest. Supporting entertainment jousts include eating competitions of ripe mango, onion, and boiled sweet corn.
Other parts of the festival are contests for the biggest tilapia, bangus, dalag, hito, gurami, mango, pakwan, tomato, squash, yellow corn, and onion and the longest ampalaya, talong and patola among other farm crops grown in the province.
In 2014, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the staging of tilapia grilling in Bayambang town, once the seat of the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, as the longest ever recorded. The long queue of grilled 60,000 kilos of tilapia stretched 8.016 kilometers.
Among the commercial supporters of the event expected to participate in the market encounter component of the expo are Max’s Group, Mama Sita’s, UBM Fresh One, Jollibee Food Corporation, Joyful Rice, Veggies Corporation, and Heraclitis Enterprises.