By Tara Yap and Minerva BC Newman
Iloilo City – A P20-million loan has been granted to onion and garlic farmers in Miag-ao town, Iloilo, by the Department of Agriculture(DA).
Municipal Agriculturist Raymundo Monroy said easy access to financing will boost onion production to 110 hectares from 40 hectares while 10 hectares for garlic production from less than two hectares.
It was Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol who initiated the loan program with low interest rate and no need for collateral.
Monroy said Miag-ao’s onion and garlic farmers no longer have to borrow from loan sharks.
Miag-ao is one of the areas where DA is expanding assistance to minimize importation of onion and garlic for domestic consumption.
Last year, Miag-ao’s onion production slumped to 296 metric tons from 462 MT in 2016. Garlic production also slumped to 1.8 MT from 3.52 MT in 2016.
Aside from financing access to farmers, DA is also pushing for the creation of a cold storage facility for the harvested onions and garlic.
The Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMA) said that with the financing, there are now 31 barangays where bulb onion is grown, the latest additions being Barangays Fantilla, La Consolacion, Sibucao, and Tumagboc.
Barangay Tigmarabo meanwhile focuses on garlic, Monroy said.
According to April Joy Depamaylo, bulb onion coordinator for OMA-Miag-ao, the DA has already disbursed P13,646,938 to 373 onion and garlic growers in Miag-ao.
Marlyn Nievares, an onion grower in BarangayBagumbayab, said the program has helped her a lot since she does not need to approach anybody for a loan. She said her family has been planting onion for more than three decades and it is only now that they have been given easy access to government credit, Nievares said.