Benguet farmers lament on veggie smuggling

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Several farmers' organizations, including vegetable traders, lamented on the existence of smuggled vegetables in the market, which had hampered the economy of the province’s agricultural sector.

Ejercito, who authored the Republic Act 10845 or the Anti-Agricultural Smuggling Law, recently promised the local farmers to address the issue during her visit in the province.

Senator JV Ejercito added he will call on the attention of Customs Commissioner Nic Faeldon to work doubly hard to catch and prosecute smuggling perpetrators including big time smugglers.

With the farmers allaying their concerns on rampant reports of the presence of smuggled potatoes and carrots, which are “formalin-cured or formalin flavored” laden to increase its shelf life sold nationwide, Ejercito promised to dig deeper into these reports and will help in making those responsible answer to the law.

“Smuggled potato and carrots compete with the local producers, and those people who are involved in these illegal importations needs to be punished accordingly,” the senator said.

A recent report shows Cordillera Region was the top producer of carrots in the Philippines contributing 88.8 percent of the country’s carrot production.

In addition, the region was also the top producer of white potato in the country with 85.9 percent contribution to the country’s white potato production, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority in their recent survey.

He also urged local government officials and farmer organizations to stay vigilant and report any activities of smuggling in their respective areas to help defray these illegal activities.
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