With the rising demand for garlic in the household and various industries, consumers continue to prefer to buy the imported variety over the local produce.
Based on recent market monitoring, more garlic users prefer imported bulbs, which are sold at P80 per kilo rather than the locally produced garlic sold at P300/kilo.
The wide price deficit has forced buyers to shop for the variety sourced from other garlic-producing countries.
Buyers stressed that practicality dictates them to buy the cheap big bulbs over the small native ones, even if the latter has a stronger aroma and is more flavorful.
According to a regular garlic user, “Dun po tayo sa nakakatipid, kung ano po yung mura, dun po tayo.”
Vegetable vendors have also observed the current trend.
“Hindi po mabili yung native na bawang kasi malayo ang diperensya (sa presyo) ng imported,” they stressed.
Inventory for the local produce in the market has also significantly shrunk as last year’s supply was “almost used up” by the series of holidays of December.
Region 1’s Ilocos Norte and Sur remain the country’s top producer of garlic with a combined 1,315.70 hectares (ha) area of production during the last quarter of 2022.
Garlic sold this month was sourced from the very last harvest of 2022, which was in early November.
This year, the first harvest from Ilocos is set on February with a projected volume of 21 metric tons (MT)
Come April, a total of 3,947 MT will be made available to consumers, sourced from the 22 garlic-producing towns of the Ilocos Region.
In 2021, total production of garlic nationwide reached 5,890.14 MT harvested from 2,424.51 ha production area. Total demand was recorded at 139,509 MT, while annual per capita consumption is pinned at 1.26 kilogram. ### (Adora D. Rodriguez, DA-AFID)