Benguet, Philippines – Alarmed by the continuous vegetable smuggling in the country, Benguet farmers and stakeholders of La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post renewed their appeal to the government to act on the issue.
Philippine Information Agency-Benguet reported on February 15, 2022 that the latest smuggled vegetables, particularly carrots which were taken from a market in Sariaya, Quezon province immediately filled various markets such as Divisoria in Tondo, Manila and Urdaneta in Pangasinan.
These spread of smuggled vegetables into markets in the country adversely affect the livelihood of Benguet farmers as major supplier of carrots nationwide. Reports reveal that orders from Benguet farmers dropped to 50%.
According to Linda Balanggoy, the operator of the carrot trading area at La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, the smuggled carrots persist despite the Senate Investigation filed in congress by Benguet Caretaker, Congressman Eric Go Yap.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan likewise earlier argued the need of implementing a local anti-smuggling task force to be appointed in the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the monitoring of the entry smuggled vegetables to prevent in competing with the local products.
Smuggled carrots now done in broad daylight
Balanggoy disclosed that smuggling vegetables are now done in the broad daylight as compared to the previous years that were usually done covertly at night.
The operator of the carrot trading area further described that the smuggled carrots were put in a box that was mark with product of China implying that these were smuggled to the country.
The smuggled carrots, Balanggoy stated, were physically clean and have black marks. She said that these black marks were caused by the injected formalin chemical to preserve the product.
Protest for protection
On February 14, 2022, at least 250 Benguet farmers held a caravan protest with delivery trucks carrying banners calling the attention of the authorities to protect them against the continuous smuggling of vegetables and other crops.
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