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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap disclosed that a House resolution will be filed the soonest to immediately seek the conduct of an investigation on the alleged smuggling of carrots in the country that had significantly affected the buying prices of highland vegetables produced by thousands of farmers in the province.
Yap, who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, branded the unrestricted entry of the imported vegetables from abroad as economic sabotage, thus, a need for concerned government agencies to implement measures to stop the smuggling of vegetables in the country.
“This is already economic sabotage. We strongly condemn the unabated entry of carrots in our market which is now heavily punishing our local farmers, particularly our kababayans from Benguet. We are now drafting a House resolution which will call for a full-blown investigation on the entry of these smuggled vegetables,” Congressman Yap stressed.
Earlier, concerned agriculture industry stakeholders from Benguet called on the agriculture department to take action after receiving reports that imported crops, such as carrots, are being openly sold in different markets around the country despite assurance from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) that it did not issue any import permit for vegetables.
“Hindi pa nga maka-recover sa epekto ng pandemic ang mga farmers, madagdagan pa ng problema kasi may competition din sa supply ng gulay, particularly these carrots from China,” Yap added.
The lawmaker reported he had already called on the agriculture department and the Bureau of Customs to look into the entry of smuggled vegetables immediately to prevent the further decline of prevailing buying prices of highland vegetables.
According to him, the imported vegetables that flooded the markets have no import permit so there is no way that these legitimately entered the country.
Congressman Yap underscored that the demand and price for locally produced carrots have gone down after local markets were flooded with imported carrots that led to heavy losses for farmers when they had to lower their farm gate prices to be able to sell their produce.
He expressed disappointment that carrot orders from Benguet have drastically dropped because the imported carrots have the same price or even much cheaper. That is why local producers have to follow the dictates of the market to be competitive even if they incur losses.
However, Congressman Yap pointed out that these unnecessary importations of agricultural products must be condemned as it is pushing two steps backward the drive to empower farmers towards attaining self-sufficiency for the country.
He claimed that vegetables produced in Benguet are cheaper and of good quality aside, from the fact that there is no problem in the supply, that is why the importation of the same is highly questionable and in this case, these are even smuggled which is in violation of laws, rules and regulations.
Congressman Yap urged consumers to continue patronizing the vegetable produce of local farmers to help them recover from the pandemic, a moral obligation for everyone to do the right thing. By HENT