City officials strongly denounced the alleged continued smuggling of highland vegetables in the country that directly compete with locally produced ones which is detrimental to the growth of the agriculture sector, especially in some parts of the Cordillera such as Benguet and some areas in Mountain Province and Ifugao.
Under Resolution No. 105, series of 2022, local legislators stated that the continued smuggling of vegetables is reportedly slowly killing the local vegetable production, especially carrots, and causing heavy impact on the established sources of livelihood of the farmers in nearby Benguet and other vegetable-producing areas in the region.
The council appealed to the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) to provide a permanent solution to the unabated smuggling of vegetables which are being sold in different market outlets in Metro Manila and other parts of the country that directly compete with locally produced ones thereby causing a significant drop in the prevailing buying prices of the said crops.
Benguet and some parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao produces more than 80 percent of the supply of highland vegetables being sold in the different markets around the country over the past several decades.
Earlier, farmers and other concerned stakeholders of the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) and the La Trinidad vegetable trading post have continuously collaborated with the national and local government for measures to stop the continued smuggling of semi-temperate vegetables through the different entry points around the country.
Last February, some 240 vehicles of farmers, truckers, traders and other concerned agriculture industry stakeholders actively participated in a caravan around the main thoroughfares of La Trinidad to send a clear message to government authorities to support the plight of the local farmers to stop the continuing smuggling of all kinds of highland vegetables which have been impacting the local vegetable industry over the past several years.
The concerned agriculture industry stakeholders also denounced the continuous smuggling of carrots from China that is continuously flooding the markets in Metro Manila and other provinces in the country that have caused a significant drop in the buying prices of the said crop.
The issue on the smuggling of vegetables in the country has been a long standing problem of the local agriculture industry over the past 2 decades affecting buying prices of the crops to the detriment of farmers in vegetable-producing communities around the region, particularly in Benguet.
Vegetable farming is the main source of livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people from Benguet and some parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao which had been their primary source of income that sustained them over the past several decades until the smuggling of vegetables affected them amidst the support being provided by concerned government agencies and the local government. (Dexter A. See)