As vegetable smuggling in the country worsened, the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women has joined the broadening call of food producers and consumers demanding President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to decisively end it, lay down a concrete solution and hammer smugglers or economic saboteurs with the full force of the law.

Last March at the Senate hearing, it was exposed that high-ranking government officials and politicians were involved in smuggling vegetables from China, reaching a value of P539 million.

The peasant women group said that this resulted in the loss of livelihood and bankruptcy of many farmers, particularly from the Cordillera region, Nueva Ecija and Occidental Mindoro.

Moreover, as Marcos Jr. who appointed himself as agriculture secretary and who has friendly relations with China, the peasant women group stressed that being vigilant will be a major task of the Filipino producers and consumers.

Amihan said in a statement that aside from holding the smugglers accountable and stopping the smuggling, the vegetable farmers should be provided product subsidies including the farm inputs, post-harvest facilities, and others. Even before the pandemic, vegetable farmers decried the rotting of tons of vegetables due to low farm gate prices. Moreover, the burden of transportation costs due to the high prices of gasoline put them in a disadvantageous position.

Based on the minutes of the Senate hearing, due to the smuggling of vegetables, the farmers suffered, such as Benguet farmers losing 20-40 percent of their orders from 2021 to the present, and an estimated value of P2.5 million per day; depressed farm gate price of carrots to P7 per kilo from the usual P95 per kilo, amid its cost is P25 per kilo; in March, Nueva Ecija and Occidental Mindoro farmers threw away their onion harvest due to low farm gate prices at P30 per kilo. They said that on carrots and onions alone, China was the established origin as it produced 47 percent and around 30 percent of the global production, respectively.