Smooth and cheap carrots that were found imported from China are now scattered in the markets of Balintawak, Divisoria, and other markets.
Vendors say they sell better than carrots from Benguet. But they say the quality of local carrots is still better.
“Di lang ang farmers ang nahihirapan, pati mga tindera… Maganda itsura pero pag niluluto na, mas maganda ang local kasi crunchy. Pag ang imported na, nalulusaw parang nalalamog pag niluluto. Kahit half cooked lang, walang lasa,” said Ella Alog, a vendor.
(It’s not just the farmers who are having a hard time, but also the shopkeepers … It looks good, but when it’s cooked, the local is better because it’s crunchy. When imported, it dissolves like it melts when cooked. Even just half-cooked, they are tasteless.)
“Nahihirapan ‘yung mga magsasaka mag-compete kasi sila di naman sila naglalagay ng mga preservatives, madaling masira, ‘yun ang problema,” said rosendo So.
(It is difficult for farmers to compete because they do not apply preservatives, they are easily damaged, that is the problem.)
Flooding of imported vegetables in market condemned, probed
According to the Department of Agriculture (DA), they have not issued import permits or sanitary and phytosanitary import clearances (SPS-IC) for the import of vegetables to be sold in the market.
The only permit is the importation for hotels and restaurants.
The DA is already investigating the imported vegetables with the Bureau of Plant Industry, specifically its pesticide and formalin content.
The smuggled vegetables in the market were immediately confiscated.
The DA is already cooperating with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in apprehending the smugglers. The BOC suspects that the imported vegetables go through backdoors or so-called “open sea smuggling.”
Apart from carrots, other allegedly smuggled vegetables such as broccoli, ginger, and cabbage were also spread.
Aside from vegetables, rice farmers also complained of the low price of palay in the provinces.
According to the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (sinag) monitoring, the new rice harvest in region 1 is P14 per kilo, P13.50 per kilo in region 2, and P10 per kilo in Mindoro.