Acting Agrarian Reform Secretary Rosalinda Bistoyong of the Department of Agrarian Reform has tasked the agency’s Region 1 director to spearhead a dialog in a bid to revitalize the industry of garlic and onion in Ilocos region.
DAR data showed the decrease of onion and garlic production in Ilocos resulted in the importation of onion and garlic from the other countries.
Virgilio Acuña of DAR-Region 1 said latest numbers showed 94 percent of the supply of garlic and 60 percent of onion in the local market are already imported from the foreign markets.
Among the problems faced by the onion and garlic industry in the area are plant diseases, lack of quality seedlings that had severely reduced the quality and volume of production, and entry of cheap imports and smuggled garlic and onions.
The massive inflow of imported and smuggled onions and garlic to the local market also caused the prices of locally produced onions and garlic to go down and incur losses to the local farmers, he said.
Acuña also raised concern over the lack of new production technology available to local garlic and onions producers as one of the factors in the production decline.
“From the dialog, we would determine the possible types of assistance that can be provided to the farmers by the government, local government of units and private sectors such as technical assistance, inputs, production and post-harvest facilities, support infrastructures, credit, farm types of machinery and assured market support among others,” he said.
DAR also said the prolonged rainy season over the years and the severe attack by a fungus were partly to blamed for the decrease in the production of garlic and onion.