By Freddie G. Lazaro, PIA 1, Ilocos Norte
PASUQUIN, Ilocos Norte – Ilocos Norte has adopted a “buyback” scheme for locally-produced garlic to assure higher market prices during the harvest season.
Edwin Cariño, of the provincial government’s Millennium Development Goals Office, said the scheme started in Pasuquin town which produces 45 percent of the province’s farmlands planted to garlic.
“This is the first time that we implemented a garlic buyback scheme in Ilocos Norte wherein the provincial government will buy garlic produce from the local growers and sell them to the national market,” he said.
The program was formally launched on May 20in time for Ilocos Norte’s mobile services to the communities, Manang Imee’s Capitol Express.
The provincial government bought initially a total of 38,860 kilograms of assorted garlic worth P3 million.
Whatever amount earned by the provincial government from the scheme will be returned to the garlic farmers in the form of high quality seed stocks.
Last year, the provincial government started distributing 25 kilograms quality garlic seed stocks to farmers to enhance the quality of locally- produced garlic. After the harvest season, the farmers returned the 25 kilograms quality seeds for distribution to other farmers who are not yet recipients of the program.
The strategy was proven effective as garlic harvest almost doubled this year compared to last year.
“In fact, over 4,000 tons of garlic stocks in the whole province are primarily coming from Pasuquin, Bacarra, Vintar and Pinili,” Cariño added.
Cariño said Ilocos Norte supplies 69 percent of the garlic product in the national market.
“Governor Imee Marcos aims to promote and widen the market of garlic. There are at least three potential big companies which are interested to partner with us,” he said.
Marcos said that under the buyback scheme, the garlic industry will not only sustain its demand in the national market but will also provide sustainable income to local producers.
“With garlic being one of the priority cash crops in the province, the provincial government in cooperation with partner institutions also strives to develop sturdier as well as new and more productive varieties,” Cariño added. ( with reports from the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte)