VILLASIS — This town has a reason to sustain its claim that it is the Vegetable Bowl of Pangasinan. Why so? Because its farmers again enjoyed a bountiful harvest that assured them of good profits for their produce over the past two years despite weather disturbances.
Unlike other towns that suffered heavily due to Typhoon Ompong, the town’s farms were hardly touched, this according to Reynaldo Mundo, the municipal agriculturist.
Most of the production for off-season crops were hardly hit except those in low-lying areas and where rainwater goes, Mundo said.
He said some 1,000 hectares had bountiful harvests for pinakbet products like eggplants, tomatoes, ampalaya, okra, siling haba, among others like upo and patola reach 1,000 hectares. For eggplants alone, the production area was about 400 hectares, he added.
He said this situation enabled farmers to sell at higher prices for their pinakbet products when supply from other areas was low.
They have year-round supply of pinakbet crops as they have planting area for off-season crops, he said.
Mundo said the local government led by Mayor Nonato Abrenica also provided interventions on inputs to help vegetable and rice farmers like fertilizer, pesticides, technology assistance, among others.
“Even during rainy season, we can still plant,” Mundo said.
Time was when a kilo of talong was as low as P5, he said. A kilo of eggplant now is from P40 to P50.
After Ompong, Mundo said there was an artificial increase of prices, from P40-50 a kilo of eggplant to P70 to P80, he said.
Because of the weather conditions experienced this year, Mundo said farmers associations discussed and agreed on proper timing for planting to avoid a glut in the market.
And because of the farmers’ profitable good practices, their children learned to love planting vegetables. “Learning by doing,” he said.
Based on their record, the town harvested a total of 12,600 metric tons (MT) of talong in 2017, plus 3,360 MT ampalaya, 625 MT tomatoes, 375 MT okra.
Sometime in 2005, Mayor Nonato Abrenica, with some friends, conceptualized Talong Festival that became an annual celebration following its successful presentation every year.
The tradition became a yearly much-awaited event here more than a decade ago.
The town is known as the Talong Capital of Pangasinan that best produces the long purple variety. (PhilStar Wire Service)
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