By Mortz C. Ortigoza
ROSALES – The absence of government facilities like seed banks could mean the Philippines will be forever dependent on imported garlic.
According to Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) President Rosendo So even the country reached three years from now it will not achieve fifty percent of locally produced garlic sufficiency as long as there are no seed banks and post production facilities like cold storage that would be built in the country.
|GRILLED - Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food, grilled Dir. Vivencio|
Mamaril, OIC, Bureau of Plant Industry, to explain why the price of garlic in the local market
rises to P200 per kilo when the landed cost of imported garlic is P17 per kilo only. PHOTO
CREDIT: Senate of the Philippines
“Mahirapan kasi wala tayong mga malalaking seed banks to produce. Dapat direction ng D.A is maglagay ng mga seed banks to produce ng mga bulbs ng bawang kung hindi iyon wala tayo,” he stressed.
The Department of Agriculture under Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the most effective way to deal with the shortage of the bulbous plant and combat the garlic cartel is to raise local production by up to 50 percent of the total consumption.
To do this, it plans to provide loans to garlic farmers, buy cold storage facilities, and look for areas to grow more garlic.
Places that primarily produced the bulbous plant are Ilocos Norte, Mindoro, and Cabuyao, Laguna.
It can be recalled that the DA proposes an allotment of P200 million budgets for 2018 to spike the production of garlic and onion.
SINAG Executive Director Jayson Cainglet cited that the budgets will not be enough if the target is to locally supply the 50 percent of the Filipinos demand on garlic.
It needs P700 million allocations to achieve this target, Cainglet said.
One of the research facilities the SINAG President eyes are the partnership of the DA with State Universities and Colleges (SUC) that could provide for laboratory, research work, and seed banking and propagation.
“I hope the budget of the D.A will increase so it can help on the supply of garlics in the market,” SINAG President So cited.
He said that the Philippines only produce 7 percent of garlic while it imports 93 percent of it.
The Philippines creates 7,468 metric tons (MT) of the crops while it imports around 57 MT based on available import permits.
Recently, Senator Cynthia Villar berated Bureau of Plant Industry Director Vivencio Mamaril after consumers clamored for the hefty prices of garlic that ran up to P200 per kilo while its imported landed price was only P17 a kilo.
Piñol suspected that a cartel controlled the number of imported garlic that went to the market thus the spiraling of its prices.
The Secretary recently blacklisted 43 companies which only imported a modicum amount of garlic despite being issued a permit allowing them to import large quantities.
"We would not allow them to import [garlic] anymore because at a time we needed them to import, they did not import. This is the first indication na may cartel," Piñol told reporters.
The Secretary said he would be issuing new licenses to importers of the bulbous plants.Piñol is presently lobbying Congress for a P60.6 billion 2018 budget of the DA or an 18.4 percent increase from its approved budget of P51.2 billion this year.