STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan – Bounties of the land and of water will be showcased in a five-day product exposition of farmers and fisherfolks here from March 28 to April 1, an event described by organizers as “curtain-raiser for the colourful and meaningful Pistay Dayat, dubbed as Pangasinan’s “mother of all festivals.”
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol has been invited to open the festivities to be held at the sprawling 5-hectare nursery of the provincial government in Barangay Tebag of this town, the province’s rice granary. He will be assisted by Gov. Amado I. Espino III, along with regional and provincial agriculture officials.
A wide array of the province’s farm and fish crops — from rice, corn, watermelon, mango to vegetables and from bangus (Pangasinan’s pride), tilapia, gourami and hito to the tasty carabeef – will adorn the booths of the agro-industrial trade exposition, provincial agriculturist and chief event organizer DalisayMoyasaid.
Dubbed “Umaani Expo 2017,” the event will also showcase latest farm technology innovations being used by the farming community, including upgraded services system of the provincial government to further improve the quality of crops yield and increase farmers’ income.
For the past three consecutive years, Pangasinan won acclaim as one of the country’s top three achievers in rice and corn production.
Keeping tab on agricultural production, the governor has programmed as early as October, last year a series of installation of shallow deep wells with water pumps in rain-dependent farmlands as part of the provincial government’s intensified irrigation program started with a P100-million fund allocation by the previous administration of then Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., now 5th district congressman of Pangasinan.
The province’s agriculture office has also ventured into high-value mushroom and silage production, tilapia culture and food processing.
Only recently, Gov. Espino III led in the massive dispersal of 300,000 tilapia fingerlings on the mouth of the giant re-regulating pond of the San Roque power dam facility to beef up fish stock along the Agno river and downstream waterways connected to the integrated irrigation system of the National Irrigation Administration that is expected to supply water to 32,000 more hectares of farmlands in Pangasinan.
An expected throng of crowd will go wild and crazy to watch the thriller siling labuyo-eating contest. Supporting entertainment jousts include eating competitions of ripe mango, onion and boiled sweet corn.
Other parts of the pomp and pageantry are the contests for the biggest tilapia, bangus, dalag, hito, gurami, mango, pakwan, tomato, squash, yellow corn and onion and the longest ampalaya, talong and patola among other farm crops abundantly grown in the province.
Pangasinan is acclaimed as the foodbasket of northern Philippines.
In 2014, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the staging of tilapia grilling in
Bayambang town, once the seat of the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, as the longest ever recorded. The long queue of grilled 60,000 kilos of tilapia stretched to 8.016 kilometers.
Expected to participate in the market encounter component of the expo are: Max’s group, Mama Sita’s, UBM Fresh One, Jollibee Food Corporation, Joyful Rice, Veggies Corporation and Heraclitis Enterprises.
By Dexter A. See