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  • Writer's pictureChristian Malnawa

Cordillera vegetable traders seek probe into entry of smuggled veggies in the Philippines

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Benguet, Philippines – Members of the League of Associations at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Areas Inc. appealed on Thursday, September 23, to the Bureau of Customs for the agency to investigate the entry and trade of alleged smuggled vegetables in Divisoria Tondo Metro Manila and Cebu.

This is after they found out from buyers and sellers in Divisoria Tondo on August 16, 2021, that alleged smuggled cabbages and carrots from China are being sold in the local market at P70.00 and P60.00 per kilogram, where locally grown cabbages and carrots are being sold at P85 to P115.

As a result, members of the league claimed that Manila buyers stopped buying from them so they were forced to drop their price to P25 to 30 per kilogram from P70.

As of September 22, the group said that the believed smuggled products are sold at P25 to P30.

In their letter, they recounted that buyer-members revealed to them that these cabbages and carrots are being unloaded at a specific time, usually at dawn in the Binondo area and fronting Divisoria Mall.

Further, they claimed that the vegies are being kept at cold storages located in Divisoria and later on distributed to buyers and sellers when the price of highland vegetables goes up beyond P40.00 per kilogram.

“As a result, some buyers have already cancelled/reduce their carrots/cabbage orders from our local farmers, a reason for the price drop. Divisoria buyers who used to purchase 2-3 tons of cabbages and 8 tons carrot each daily are now purchasing 0-200 kgs. only” the local traders claimed.

In Cebu, the group said that their buyers told them that allegedly, at least 4 container vans of smuggled carrots are being delivered weekly at the Carbon market, and that, these are distributed in different markets in Cebu and being sold at P50 per kilogram.

“Since our social media post on smuggled cabbages went viral on August 16-18, only smuggled carrots are now being unloaded and sold, no cabbages,” they wrote.

As recalled, the Bureau of Plant Industry has confirmed on August 18, 2021, that they did not issue any importation permit for cabbages and carrots.


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