Farmers to DA: Reveal names of biggest agri importers

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today challenged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to lay bare the details of importation to know the extent of smuggling in the country. 

A reliable source told KMP that there is no truth that DA did not issue import permits for carrots, according to KMP chairman emeritus and Anakpawis chairperson Rafael Mariano. “At least for the year 2020, we want to know the number of import permits issued by DA, the volume for every permit issued, and the identities of permitees. The responsibility and accountability to divulge this information is on DA’s shoulder.”  

The burden of proof in convincing farmers, traders, and the public that it did not issue import permits for vegetables is on DA and Secretary William Dar. Secretary Dar cannot simply issue a blanket alibi to escape accountability. Walang “opisyal na importasyon” pero may direct at technical smuggling. 

KMP also noted that under the Duterte administration, the country’s import dependency rate (IDR) on vegetables further increased. In 2019, the IDR for garlic is 92.2%, peanuts is 75%, mung beans is 50.5%, and potatoes at 18.1%.

 “The irony of it all is that we are able to produce these vegetables with high import dependency rates. Vegetable production is concentrated in Ilocos, Central Luzon, and Cordillera. Depending on the variety, vegetable production ranges from 30% to 80% in the said regions.” 

The following regions are top producers of the

>Ilocos: Eggplant, garlic, mung beans, peanuts, tomato, and cauliflower

>Cordillera: Cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, habitchuelas, Chinese pechay, and white potato

>Central Luzon: Onion, Okra (Lady Finger)

Mariano said the Bureau of Customs (BOC) must also divulge full information on the total volume of smuggled agriculture products it seized from 2016 to 2020 under the current administration.  

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