HOUSE LEGISLATORS have called for an investigation into smuggled Chinese vegetables being distributed in domestic markets.
The minority Makabayan bloc, led by Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia C. Cullamat, filed House Resolution 2263 Wednesday requesting an investigation by the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.
According to the resolution, farmers have reported diminished demand for their crops due to competition from the smuggled produce, forcing farmers to dump their harvests.
“Benguet farmers, vegetable farmers, and truckers reiterated their calls to stop vegetable smuggling as they urged the government for more significant protection against imports and smuggled produce,” according to the resolution.
Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said Tuesday that shipments of cabbages and carrots from China had been misdeclared as “other items.”
He also added that the Bureau of Plant Industry did not issue import permits for the vegetables.
Mr. Dar also warned against buying smuggled vegetables due to uncertainty regarding their pesticide content.
Farmers also called the attention of the Department of Agriculture (DA) to contraband cabbage circulating in Divisoria market at P70 per kilogram, much lower than the price of Benguet cabbage, which sells for P115 to P125 per kilogram, according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
“The rampant smuggling of carrots since August is disturbing. Farmers and traders have called the attention of the DA Secretary (Dar) but (he) has not acted on it,” Ms. Cullamat said in a statement. — Russell Louis C. Ku