The agri-industry alliance Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) has earmarked P25 million to provide garlic farmers access to credit and capacity-building assistance.
In a media briefing, SINAG chairman Rosendo So said that the loan assistance would be available to farmers who want to shift to garlic production, adding that they have already identified more than 600 hectares of land available for garlic farming.
“We will start planting garlic by October in 200 hectares in Pangasinan, 100 hectares in La Union, 100 hectares in Tarlac, and 200 hectares in Nueva Ecija,” So said.
He said that each farmer can take a loan of as much as P100,000 per hectare. Besides the funding for their crops, the official said they would also help the garlic farmers to market their produce through a contract-farming scheme with some 30 member organizations of SINAG.
Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) assured the availability of more affordable garlic in various markets nationwide as it strengthens its coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry to arrest the rising prices of garlic and other basic commodities.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala described the sudden surge in garlic prices early this month as a “blessing in disguise” because it served as a wake-up call for the authorities to clamp down on unscrupulous traders that are trying to manipulate prices when local garlic production has just been revived.
“We expect the price of garlic to continue to stabilize next month,” Alcala noted, after confirming that a National Garlic Action Team (NGAT) has submitted its recommendations.
Alcala noted that while government will still allow the importation of garlic, the DA would strictly enforce measures to ensure that it will not be abused to protect the resurgence of the local variety, which has seen a production boom, particularly in the north.
Alcala is set to inaugurate an onion and garlic hangar storage in Barangay Nalvo in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte on Wednesday. The storage facility has the potential to serve more than 1,000 hectares of onion and garlic plantations in Region 1.
The onion-garlic storage was built to hold loosely stored onion in bulk or bags as it provides a shed with good ambient air circulation for cool and dry storage conditions.
A similar facility was also opened by Alcala inside the Mariano Marcos State University in Batac City.
James Konstantin Galvez