Some 29.2 million kilos of assorted vegetables flooded the local market from April to July this year. The farm imports came from China, India, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the U.S.
By Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat.com
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Municipal officials of this provincial capital town questioned the Department of Agriculture (DA) anew for issuing vegetable importation permits (IP’s) that result in the dumping of imported temperate vegetables, which have been hurting local vegetable producers for some years now.
La Trinidad Mayor Nestor Fongwan disclosed that the permits came from the DA secretary’s office. He noted that the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), which should be issuing importation permits, claimed it did not issue any.
Fongwan said that, as of May, assorted imported vegetables entered the country and caused a drop in sales of local produce.
A report of the Plant Quarantine Service said that some 29.2 million kilos of assorted vegetables flooded the local market from April to July this year. Imported farm products from China, India, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the U.S. include onion, garlic, potatoes, spinach, corn kernel, carrots, ginger, pepper, peas, cauliflower, and pumpkin.
Fongwan further said that one IP alone issued on July 4 facilitated the entry of 15,000 kg of carrots, 10,000 kg of broccoli, 5,000 kg of celery, 5,000 kg of cauliflower, 5,000 kg of romaine lettuce and 5,000 kg iceberg lettuce. He added that even legal importation should be questioned, because local farmers can produce temperate vegetables.
As this developed, Fongwan urged local farmers to improve the quality and quantity of their produce to meet market standards. He said Benguet farmers produce high-quality vegetables but should have access to post-harvest facilities in the province “to help them compete globally.”
The mayor disclosed that Dole Asia, a local subsidiary of multinational food company Dole, plans to build a vegetable processing plant in La Trinidad. He added that Dole Asia wants to buy high-end vegetables from local farmers.
Meanwhile, in his letter to the Benguet provincial board, Committee on Agriculture Chair John Kim called on the government to study and readjust existing tariffs, and to increase tariffs for imported vegetables to protect local farmers and raise more revenues.
The Philippines should be stricter on Product Standards, Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) and Pest Risk Analysis (PRA) on imported vegetables that hurt local agriculture, Kim said. “The Philippines has become the dumping site for poor, cheap, unsanitary and hazardous products,” his letter read. Kimberlie Ngabit-Quitasol for NORDIS / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)