The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture is pushing for technology-based innovations in garlic production, as the Philippines still imports 90 percent of the country’s demand for this particular commodity. Right now, the Philippines is still far from being self-sufficient in garlic. In 2018, the country imported more than 10 percent of the country’s demand for this agricultural product. China, India, and Hong Kong are the major suppliers of garlic to the Philippines.
SEARCA claims that raising Philippines’ garlic sufficiency level is possible through a “package of technology”, which mainly involves good seeds and fertilization using gibberelic acid and organic fertilizer. That is why SEARCA, through its Emerging for Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD), is promoting technology-based innovation among local enterprises such as fertilization using gibberelic acid and organic fertilizer.
The study was made in partnership with the DA and Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).
The Ilocos Region is the largest garlic-producing region in the Philippines, contributing more than 65 percent to the country’s total production. It also has the best comparative advantage in garlic production because of its agroclimatic suitability. However, the region experienced a decline not just in volume of production but also in the area planted and harvested for garlic in the past several years due to competition. The downward trend in productivity is also attributed to low-yielding varieties and high postharvest losses.
However, recent field tests have shown that native garlic varieties can catch up in competitiveness with imported garlic which has been hitting high yields per hectare, similar to those in China.
An improved native garlic variety, the Batanes white, is seen to raise Philippines’ garlic production having yielded the highest 4.9 tons per hectare, even posting a yield as much as 9.3 tons in a second crop in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.