As an offshoot of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s recent official trip in China, Manila assigned diplomats Mr. Bai Xun and Mr. Zhao Yiguang held a visit to various farms in Ilocos Norte.

Representing the Ministry of Agriculture in China, Bai and Zhao had a direct consultation with farmers to discuss on commodities with potentials for the Chinese market.

Assisted by DA-RFO I Regional Executive Director Dr. Annie Q. Bares, Regional Technical Director for Operations Engr. Dennis Tactac and representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the group made a courtesy call with key officials of the Province thru Atty. Pancho Jose of the Office of the Governor, Mr. Edwin Cariño, Technical Consultant of the Office of 1st District Congressman Sandro Marcos and OIC-Provincial Agriculturist Teresita Bacnat.

Citing the high cost of fertilizer which are usually imported from China, Atty. Jose sought possible assistance on a cheaper supply to satisfy the requirements of farmers on their farm productions in Ilocos Norte.

Mr. Cariño likewise suggested possible collaborations on aqua culture production, technology that will hasten soil fertility mapping efforts that will aid in determining suitable crop productions of the province, possible marketing tie ups, and likewise mentioned the black garlic produced by MMSU, among others.

Field tours were conducted at the Editha Dacuycuy-owned REFMAD dragon fruit farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, the Bacarra Sanjera Farmers’ Association rice fields, and Ricardo Tolentino’s Mango King Food Products in Laoag City.
On trade and industry, the diplomats recommended the assistance of the DTI so that the Philippine mango and dragon fruit may be endorsed for exhibition in this year’s China International Import Expo, the biggest buying event in China.

Bai and Zhao also spoke with Mariano Marcos State University President Dr. Shirley Agrupis for future investment collaboration of the university with the Chinese government. The university showed its various existing research projects and facilities in the campus where technologies are developed such as the black garlic, Nipa alcohol production, and at the Tuklas Lunas Center, among others.

Meanwhile, farmers raised concerns on technology support to resolve Mango cecid fly infestation, increase rice production through China’s super hybrid rice variety and other rice production technologies, irrigation support and access to sufficient fertilizer supply.

Ilocos Norte already had a long-term cooperative relationship with the Chinese government through its sister province, Shandong, dating back its establishment in 2002.###