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DA, SEAMEO launch study on how to curb smuggling of aggie products

- Rudy A. Fernandez () - May 8, 2011 - 12:00am

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philppines – A project that will study how to curb smuggling of agricultural commodities in the country is on.

Now implementing the project are the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization-Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO SEARCA).

BAR is DA’s research arm.

SEARCA is one of the 20 “centers of excellence” of SEAMEO, an intergovernment treaty body founded in 1965 to foster cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science, and culture. SEARCA is hosted by the Philippine government on the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) campus.

UPLB experts are also being tapped to help in the project, which will investigate the quantitative and qualitative aspects of smuggling of agriculture commodities to find out the extent of this illegal activity.

The project will also determine how smuggling is done and assess the effectiveness of existing trade policies.

“The entry of cheaper-priced smuggled goods decreases the competitive advantage of local producers,” Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano said at the project’s first steering committee meeting held at SEARCA here recently.

SEARCA Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. also cited the project’s importance as it examines the nature, extent, and channels of agricultural products smuggling, which adversely affects the livelihood and incomes of small Filipino farmers.

The study will look particularly at agricultural goods being illegally traded both at the front door (northeastern shores) and at the back door of the Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan (MINSUPALA) region.

“We expect the results of the study to provide policymakers and other concerned groups a concrete picture of how smuggling reduces the government’s revenue that can be used to provide basic services for the country’s citizens,” Dr. Saguiguit said.

Maria Rosario Acosta, who represented the Bureau of Customs in the meeting, reported that aside from BOC, other agencies are directly and indirectly involved in addressing smuggling at the pro-border, border, and after the border.

SEARCA and DA-BAR have been working together for many years in various capacity-building and research programs.

SEARCA is also assisting the Departments of Education (DepEd) and Agrarian Reform (DAR) in initiatives that aim to enhance food security and contribute to efforts in responding to climate change risks in agriculture and natural resource management.

AGRARIAN REFORM AGRICULTURE UNDERSECRETARY SEGFREDO R BUREAU OF CUSTOMS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE-BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION DIRECTOR GIL C DR. SAGUIGUIT GRADUATE STUDY AND RESEARCH MARIA ROSARIO ACOSTA SAGUIGUIT JR. SEARCA
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