Imported aggie products monopolizing Phl market

>> Thursday, June 8, 2017

By Yna Capuyan

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Imported agricultural products are threatening to monopolize the Philippine market due to ASEAN integration and because local farmers are only selling and distributing locally.
Cristeta Gamonnac, Dept. of Agriculture’s provincial good agricultural practices (GA) chief bared this citing role of farmers in supporting the country’s  chairmanship in ASEAN as regards agriculture trade and practices.
She said GAP gives opportunities for farmers to market their products in bulk outside the country with right certifications and internationally competent practices, during GAP forum here at Ridgebrooke Hotel attended by 40 provincial farmers May 23-26.
It was known the DA-Cordillera Administrative Region was intensifying information dissemination on GAP, scaling up vegetable industry for ASEAN integration and high value crops development program.
In keeping up with globalization, Ligaya Poled, high value crops development program provincial coordinator cited importance of local farmers’ involvement in global trade.
“Asian counterparts are already exporting their goods to our country, so we should also compete with them in the global market,” she said. “For us to do that we need to be aware of the trend, in the  international market.
The training started with an introduction to the ASEAN
Resource speakers also discussed quality and food safety management, cultural production of vegetables, Philippine National Standards.
Good agricultural practices were recommended for vegetable and fruits growers and how to apply for GAP certification.
With this certification, the farmers were advised to note post-harvest logistics in their vegetable production where land, labor, capital and technology will be closely evaluated.
From the GAP discussion on pesticides, a farmer from Tadian town suggested to revert to cultural practices such as ground chilli soaked in tobacco for pest elimination.
But, their dilemma, he said, is if the soil is already soaked with chemicals, harvest is limited.
Daisy Casiben, agricultural technician from Bauko town suggested if there is a chance to go back to organic farming and use traditional methods in farming, it is highly encouraged.
The GAP reportedly does not totally prohibit use of pesticides but it is recommended that farmers submit soil samples for soil analysis to determine the inputs needed for a bountiful harvest and avoid further destroying soil.
A participant from Sadanga town cited the good practices of their farmers saying, “Actually, our local farmers try not to use chemicals as much as possible for our safety and for our consumers’ sake. This is due to a resolution from the municipal council which is strictly followed by the farmers of Sadanga.”
At the end of the seminar, Regina Panilas of OPAG who served as facilitator urged farmers question and share their impressions what they learned and next actions they would do with the information gained from the seminar.
Participants requested for another training to be conducted in their respective communities so more farmers will be able to attend.

Farmers said with ASEAN integration, they are now highly motivated to apply for their GAP certifications to be able to conduct trade in the international arena.


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