Saturday, July 12, 2014

Alcala fires Barron at the height of Garlic shortage

                                                 Pressures by Sinag, Abono bear fruit

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

URDANETA CITY – The acrimony in the media launched by Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura and Abono Party-list paid off as Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala sacked recently Director Clarito Barron of the Bureau of Plant Industry.
Beleaguered Director Clarito M. Barron
Barron was blamed to the sky rocketing prices of garlic in the country.
SINAG President Rosendo So said that Secretary Alcala canned Barron last July 11 from his post after he was blamed for the runaway hikes of garlic that hit the entire Filipino nation.
So said Barron, who is a Career Civil Service officer, is now on a floating status.
He is reporting at the DA’s field operation office.
The Sinag President and Abono Party Chairman said garlic that used to fetch at more than one hundred peso a kilo has been sold at its highest for P300 a kilo.
“Wala, nag-usap lang kami. The other day (Wednesday) alam naman nya mga nakita naman niya ang nangyayari sa bawang and sibuyas. Very concerned si Secretary Alcala sa mga local farmers natin,” he stressed.

He said he complained with the secretary on the plight faced by the garlic farmers and consumers under the leadership of Barron.
 Sinag told recently the media that Barron allowed importers to buy garlic while local growers were harvesting the same product.
The Sinag president said Barron did it before with onions when he issued permit in January for the entry of imported produce at a time when harvest of local farmers was ongoing in February and March. As a result, local onion growers went in the red as the markets were flooded with imported products, he added. BPI permits for imported garlic were also issued in March and April simultaneous with local harvest thus price for the local product plunged.
“Mamamatay yung local farmer kung hindi magre-resign si Barron, wala siyang paki- alam sa mga magsasaka ng ating bayan,” So said.
Because of the release in the market of 30 container vans of imported garlic, So said its price declined.
 “Sa ngayon nag release na sila. Bumaba na iyan  kasi ang Metro Manila P200  (a kilo) na”.
The other factor, he said, was the government gave permit to new importers to buy garlic abroad to ease its price in the market.
Garlic is sold at P150 a kilo in Divisoria while its price in Dagupan City is at P280 a kilo.
He said the imported price of garlic is P17/kg and sold at P300. “This is 1,664% hike,” So said. Local garlic at production cost is P40/kg from the farmers and sold at wholesale price of P60, he said.
He said the old importers who used to sell the product in the country were not given anymore permits by the government.
They have been accused to hoard the commodity that triggers its shortage thus the spike of its price in the market.
When asked if the Senate’s Committee on Agriculture and Food under Senator Cynthia Villar have already the names of hoarders, the president of Sinag said there are people that the senate is looking.

“May mga pinag-aaralan na isa-submit na natin sa senate. Inaalam pa natin para ma clear natin lahat para sigurado”

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