House exec: DA solution to agri problem burdens local industry, consumers | Inquirer News

House exec: DA solution to agri problem burdens local industry, consumers

/ 01:50 PM August 10, 2021
Rep. Carlos Zarate claimed that the DA’s solution to the country’s agricultural issues is a burden to the local industry and consumers.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate. INQUIRER.net file photo / Noy Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate on Tuesday claimed that the Department of Agriculture’s solution to the country’s agricultural issues is a burden to the local industry and consumers.

Ang naging solusyon ng ating mga kagawaran lalong-lalo na ng agrikultura para masolusyonan itong problema natin sa karne, bigas, at gulay ay hindi siya solusyon talaga at ito ay lalong nagpapahirap sa ating lokal na industriya,” Zarate explained in a virtual hearing.

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(The solution of our departments especially to agricultural problems in meat, rice and vegetables is actually not a solution but additional burden to our local industry.)

The House representative also noted that despite the decrease in inflation, the price of commodities in the previous month continued to rise, troubling consumers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“But, ‘wag ho tayong mawala doon sa usapin na kahit na four percent (inflation) ‘yan, ay ibig sabihin lang niyan, four percent pa rin ang nadagdag doon sa mga presyong itinaas ng mga bilihin nitong mga nakaraang buwan, “ Zarate added.

(But, we should not veer away from the issue that despite the four percent [inflation], it only means four percent are still added to the prices of commodities in the past months.)

Zarate also cited a report from the Philippine Statistics Authority which showed that the effect of the African Swine Fever (ASF), combined with pork importation, has pulled down the agriculture sector during the first half of the year. This is in contrast with Agriculture Secretary William Dar’s statement that the agency’s responses on ASF are well.

Dar clarified that the country still has a problem with ASF, but its platform for managing the ASF is working.

The chief said that only 29 barangays have reported active ASF cases to date.

Meanwhile, Zarate echoed National Federation of Hog Farmers Chair Chester Tan on the reported pork imports in Visayas and Mindanao.

Tan questioned that the deficit is only recorded in Luzon, asking why there are bulk shipped in Visayas and Mindanao.

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“What is alarming po, Mr. Chair, is ‘yung nabanggit po nila na 120,000 metric tons na outside MAV po na pumapasok sa Visayas, Mindanao… Itong outside MAV po as alam po namin, wala po itong limit, free for all… Inuulit po namin, wala namang deficit sa Visayas, Mindanao,” Tan explained.

(What is alarming, Mr. Chair, is the one they mentioned which is the 120,000 metric tons outside MAV [minimum access volume] that go in Visayas, Mindanao. This outside MAV, as we know, has no limit, free for all. We reiterate, there is no deficit in Visayas and Mindanao.)

“With regard to the MAV, the regular MAV, there’s only 54,000 metric tons inside the MAV. but outside the MAV quota, it is open to all, and it can go to Visayas and Mindanao, provided that they will pay the right tariff,” Dr. Jocelyn Salvador, executive director of the National Meat Inspection Service answered.

Moreover, Dar stated anew that the agency needs P6.6 billion this year for the repopulation of hogs to address the effect of ASF. However, Zarate raised that the agency has a P658.2 million in unobligated funds under Bayanihan to Recover as One Act which could be used if there is a clear program.

RELATED STORIES:

DA calls for unhampered transport of farm produce 

DA cuts 2021 agriculture growth target to 2% 

DA assures consumers of steady food prices 

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TAGS: agri issues, Carlos Zarate, Department of Agriculture, hogs, House hearing
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