MANILA—The Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for a two-crop cycle for garlic to boost the country’s production of the commodity and ease its dependence on imported supply. Current crop cycle could only support single planting in a year.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said today he has ordered DA’s regional office in Ilocos Region to work alongside farmer-groups in Baccara and Pasuquin to test if dual cropping is possible by planting a month earlier than usual and by using early-maturing varieties.
Alcala was in Ilocos Norte earlier this week to lead a gathering of DA national officials in Laoag and to launch several projects, including two onion and garlic storage facilities in Pasuquin and inside the Mariano Marcos State University campus in Batac, each costing P1.3 million.
Garlic, with a crop cycle taking about five months from planting to harvest, grows well during dry months. Local farmers typically plant on October or November and harvest by February or March.
Alcala proposed that farmers plant as early as September so they could harvest by December and plant again within the month which they will reap by March.
“Planting twice a year means double income for farmers,” he said.
DA will also test the viability of growing the crops in a nursery for a month before transplanting them to the open field saving one month in the crop cycle.
DA Regional Field Unit 1, headed by Director Valentino Perdido, is expected to complete fleshing out the details of the proposed activities before the end of the month.
He said DA will conduct a parallel research in its research station in Batac to ensure the integrity of the results.
Earlier, Alcala asked the officials of the Mariano Marcos State University, led by President Miriam Pascua, to fasttrack its research and development initiatives aimed at developing quality planting stocks through tissue culture.
Alcala said DA will provide additional funds to fast-track the improvement of high quality planting stocks. Lack of quality planting stock has been identified as a major factor of low production during the last five years.
MMSU experts said the development of tissue-cultured planting stocks for garlic may take about four years if done through the normal process.