Benguet farmers alarmed over ‘smuggled’ carrots from China

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The Benguet Farmers Cooperative on Friday expressed alarm as allegedly smuggled carrots from China were competing with carrots from Benguet Province in Divisoria.

According to Marisol Abdurahman’s report on “24 Oras,” the imported carrots were bigger, cleaner, and cheaper, and were thus very popular with customers.

“Sa ngayon, talamak na kasi. Halos lahat ng markets dito ay marami nang smuggled or imported na mga carrots talaga,” cooperative President Agot Balanoy said.

(Right now, it’s very rampant. Almost every market here has smuggled or imported carrots.)

“We call them smuggled kasi sabi naman ni [Bureau of Plant Industry] wala silang in-approve na permit na magpapasok ang Pilipinas ng mga imported vegetables. Therefore, it must be smuggled,” she added.

(We call them smuggled because the Bureau of Plant Industry said that they didn’t approve a permit that would allow the importation of vegetables. Therefore, it must be smuggled.)

This was confirmed by the Department of Agriculture (DA), who said that the Bureau of Plant Industry issued no import permits on the carrots.

The DA also said that the supply of highland vegetables was of good quality.

“‘Yan ang hindi ko nga alam, eh, kasi mura lang naman ang carrots, eh. Napakamura so hindi natin malaman kung bakit mayroon ganyan… Kung ganyan baka smuggled or whatever,” Agriculture Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said.

(That’s what I don’t understand because carrots are cheap. So I don’t understand where these came from… if that’s the case, they may be smuggled or whatever.)

The DA is now coordinating with other agencies on the supposed imported carrots.

Meanwhile, Balanoy urged the public to buy local products.

“We hope na ang tangkilikin natin ay ‘yung local produce natin kasi ano naman siya— at least, mas safe,” Balanoy said.

(We hope that the public will buy local produce— they’re safe.)

As of Thursday evening, the imported carrots cost P50 per kilo while the Benguet carrots cost P60 to P70, which, at times, can reach up to P120.

However, a seller of Benguet carrots said they have lowered the price to be competitive.

“‘Yung local na ano, sumasabay na po sa mura. Kasi po kung hindi, mas malaki po malulugi,” the seller said. — Joahna Lei Casilao/DVM, GMA News

This article Benguet farmers alarmed over ‘smuggled’ carrots from China was originally published in GMA News Online.

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