Every year since 1987, in the months of October, November and December, about 3,000 farmers in 25 municipalities of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur plant an average of 850 hectares to tomatoes. The fruits are harvested from mid-January to Apirl and sold to the Northern Foods Corporation whose plant in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte processes them into tomato paste. Using the technology developed and introduced by NFC over the years, the farmers’ fields have reached a production peak of 44 tons per hectare (from a 18 tons per hectare average yield in 1987); and the fruits’ natural tomato soluble solids (NTSS) are of such quality that NFC’s plant has achieved a 6.00 raw to paste conversion ratio, and thus churn out 3,500 to 4,500 tons of paste annually.
The Philippines consumes about 22,000 tons of tomato paste every year. Before the advent of NFC, all these paste were imported from Taiwan, the USA and other countries. Now because of NFC this drain on the foreign currency of the country has been cut by at least 20% of the total annual tomato paste annually.
Because of the fact that NFC is an anchor processing center, its beneficiary reach is regional encompassing two provinces, and its economic impact is national, its concept and operations fall squarely wihin the objectives of EO # 866 (LIVECOR’S Charter). Therefore, LIVECOR agreed to provide the initial funding necessary to set up the procesing plant in Ilocos Norte. NFC was incorporated in March 1984 originally as a private corporation. After the 1986 EDSA revolution, LIVECOR took over management of NFC. In 2007, LIVECOR merged with the NLSF to form the National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC) and which now oversees NFC’s operations.
In October 1984, the Province of Ilocos Norte acquired from 52 farmer-landowners a total of 4.3 hectares of land which in turn was leased to NFC for 25 years. The land lease has been renewed for the next 15 years until year 2024.