The Department of Agriculture (DA) will expand areas planted with onion and garlic in Iloilo by 1,000 hectares in line with its goal of reducing the country’s reliance on imports.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the DA has committed to extend P200 million worth of support to the onion and garlic farmers of the towns of Miagao, Tigbauan and Igbaras in Iloilo province.
“Judging by the quality of the onion and garlic displayed during the forum, the farmers of Iloilo could produce quality onion and garlic which could compete in the market,” Piñol said in his Facebook page on August 14.
“The forum for onion and garlic farmers in Iloilo was the second, such gathering aimed at encouraging-farmers to plant more of the commodities needed by the market,” he added. Piñol said half of the proposed P200 million, which will be coursed through a local bank, will be spent for the expansion of plantations.
“During the forum attended by Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defenson, Miagao Mayor Macario Napulan, Tigbauan Mayor Suzette Alquisada, Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones and officials of the agriculture department, a financing of P100,000 per hectare was committed to the farmers through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC),” he said.
The DA also committed P50 million for the construction of a cold- storage facility in Miag-ao, while the remaining P50 million will be a “revolving” capital for the farmers operating the facility, according to Piñol.
An additional P50 million in revolving capital will also be extended to a farmers’ group which will operate the cold storage so they could buy their members’ produce during peak harvest season and sell these during off season.
The DA chief has earlier announced that the government would slash imports and boost garlic and onion production. This, he said, would prevent traders from manipulating prices.
“After years of neglect by government, garlic farmers could only produce 6 percent of the national requirement, while onion farmers could only fill up 30 percent of the demand in the country,” Piñol said.
“In the five-year road map for onion and garlic development, the DA aims to help farmers produce 50 percent of the garlic requirements and 80 percent of the onion needs of the country by 2022,” he added.
In 2016 Iloilo’s garlic production declined by 11.73 percent to 78.75 metric tons (MT), from 89.22 MT in 2015, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Iloilo’s onion output also went down by 6.3 percent to 278 MT last year, from 296.72 MT in 2015.