NICER Program set to boost garlic and other agri-food condiments industry

Preliminary reports of a government project have shown increased yields of garlic and initial development of a black garlic processing machine and black garlic-based value-added products.

These were the recent accomplishments of the Garlic and Other Agri-Food Condiments R&D Center under the Niche Centers in the Regions for Research and Development (NICER) Program at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). The program is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and is being monitored by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the DOST.

The Center has five project components, which aim to revitalize the country’s garlic and agri-food condiments industry.

Positive preliminary results were achieved as yields of garlic increased through higher planting density, improved nutrient management (NM), and application of Carrageenan plant growth promoter (CPGP). Shallot productivity was also improved through NM and CPGP applications. The project team is also working on seed multiplication of collected chilies, turmeric, and ginger.

The Center has collected 63 local accessions of garlic, ginger, kinchay, black pepper, ‘atchuete,’ chili pepper, and roselle for its germplasm collection and has established a field genebank where the said collections are planted for conservation.

A project on enhancing usability and profitability of garlic through black garlic processing shared that a black garlic processing machine is being developed, its design and layout have already been established. Additionally, the said project has developed black garlic-flavored ice cream, which is undergoing consumer acceptability tests. MMSU, in coordination with the Tuklas-Lunas pharmacy team of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, is also looking into developing black garlic-based medicinal products.

Meanwhile, the center is still gathering information on the curing and storage practices of garlic and other agri-food condiments in the Philippines to develop an improved curing and storage structure for garlic.

Surveys and analyses are also being conducted through the project, “Value Chain Analysis of Garlic in the Philippines,” to identify key strategies that will improve the competitiveness of the local garlic in the country.

These accomplishments were presented during a meeting with the Technical Review and Evaluation Panel (TREP) composed of S&T Consultants: Dr. Leoncia L. Tandang of Benguet State University and Dr. Floirendo P. Flores of University of the Philippines Los Baños. DOST-PCAARRD’s Engr. Kathleen Faith Jay O. Villarma of the Agricultural Resources Management Research Division and Ms. Polianne G. Tiamson of the Socio-Economics Research Division also joined the panel of evaluators.

The virtual activity was attended by the program team led by MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis, Program Leader Dionisio S. Bucao, together with the project leaders and staff from MMSU. Also in attendance are DOST’s Science for Change Program (S4CP) Manager, Mr. Gilbert M. Poralan, Jr.; DOST-PCAARRD’s Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development, Dr. Feliciano G. Calora, Jr.; Crops Research Division (CRD) Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Allan B. Siano; and key staff from CRD.