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Business

Garlic farmers cry for help

Teddy Molina - The Philippine Star

BATAC CITY , Philippines   â€“ Farmers are looking forward to the strengthening of the threatened garlic and onion industries in the Ilocos provinces after government leaders came here to look into the problems besetting the local crops.

Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala, accompanied by Senators Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Cynthia Villar, had the oppurtunity to hear first hand last Wednesday what ails both crops with farmer leaders and officials of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte gracing the meeting with the national officials held here.

Both provinces have been traditionally raising garlic and onion apart from tobacco. Leaders of farmer-organizations told Alcala that garlic which used to be called “white gold” in the two Ilocos provinces for the good income it gave to farmers has been threatened by smuggling.

They said it is now a “dying crop” due to rampant smuggling of garlic from neighboring Asian countries like China.   

The smuggled products have found their way into the public markets and are being sold at scandalously cheap prices.

“Although the quality of our produce is much better, we cannot compete with  smuggled garlic because of the buyers’ preference for cheaper items,” Fernando Ines, a garlic grower, told The STAR in Ilocano. He said they can not lower the price of their crop down to the level of the imported ones citing the production costs they entail in raising the crop.

He said that in China, the farmers’ farming needs like fertilizer and other inputs are subsidized by the government which he claimed explains why they can afford to sell their produce at low prices.

   

     

   

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROSPERO ALCALA ALCALA BONGBONG FERNANDO INES GARLIC ILOCOS ILOCOS SUR AND ILOCOS NORTE MARCOS JR. AND CYNTHIA VILLAR SENATORS FERDINAND
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