Beyond Buzzwords: Transforming Philippine Agriculture!

Huge cartels control onion, garlic industry — Sec. Piñol

Author: DA-Admin | 25 November 2016

The country’s bulb onion and garlic trading is being controlled by a few rich and powerful groups which, unless dismantled, will continue to cause huge losses to Filipino onion and garlic farmers, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol revealed yesterday.

Piñol made the revelation in a Facebook post today/Nov. 25 amid Department of Agriculture (DA) plans to restrict onion and garlic imports. The DA had just cancelled all import permits for meat and poultry products because of technical smuggling by importers “recycling” their import papers twice or thrice in connivance with unscrupulous government personnel.

“There are a few individuals masquerading as an organized group of onion and garlic industry stakeholders who control the importation, including smuggling, of bulb onion and garlic into the country. These are also the same groups which buy the produce of local onion and garlic farmers,” Piñol revealed.

The DA Secretary said that, “since these groups were allowed to operate with impunity in the past, they have perfected a system” whereby they bring in bulb onion and garlic in “huge quantities during the off-harvest season” when government allows heavy importation.

“They then hoard these surplus imports in their warehouses. Then, when the harvest season of local onion and garlic starts, they release their hoarded stocks in the market to bring down the prices of the local products,” Piñol asserted.

Many of these importers, he wrote, are also the buyers of the local produce and since the volume of bulb onion and garlic is very small, they could easily gobble this up and firmly control the industry.

“It took me sometime before I clearly understood how this oppressive system of controlling the prices of bulb onion and garlic works in the country,” Piñol wrote.

“This practice is killing the local bulb onion and garlic industry, because farmers who end up suffering from huge losses every year could ultimately shift to other crops,” he wrote.

The collapse of the onion and garlic farming in the Philippines “is what the cartels would like to happen,” he added, “so that the country would be dependent on imported onion and garlic which they import and trade in the country.”

To counter the cartel’s nefarious activities, Piñol said he has instructed the Bureau of Plant Industry Director Choy Mamaril to gather data on the onion and garlic requirements of the Philippine market every year. Based on the data, the DA will devise a strategy to counter this oppressive and unjust practice.

“I also directed him to quantify the locally produced bulb onion and garlic so that we would know the difference between the demand in the market and the capacity of our farmers to produce.

“I will not say that I have found the silver bullet but I am sure the DA will be able to slay this monster. Whatever formula I have devised to counter this will remain a secret,” he added.

“One thing is clear and certain: the administration of President Rody Duterte will not allow the continued oppression of the Filipino farmers and fisher folk,” Piñol vowed. (DA-OSEC)

Reference:

Ferdinand F. Piñol
Head Executive Assistant
Contact No. 09176534611

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