The Department of Agriculture (DA) – Cordillera has given Benguet farmers and traders the assurance that investigation is ongoing as to the possible illegal entry of cabbage from China that is now flooding markets all over the country that may eventually kill local production.
In a statement, the DA said that there is no cabbage importation from China was allowed and was issued with Sanitary and Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPSIC) as of the moment.
The confirmation came upon verification with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) import section in Manila that no cabbage importation from China has been allowed and was issued with SPSIC.
SPSIC is a document issued by BPI prior to importation to ensure that the products being imported meet standards to protect human, animal or plant life or health, ensuring that the products are safe for consumers and to prevent the spread of pests or diseases among animals or plants.
“The concern was referred to the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) and Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS) at the Department Agriculture (DA) Central Office for further investigation,” the statement added.
The DA started the investigation as Benguet highland vegetable farmers and traders raised the alarm that smuggled cabbage with cheaper prices from China are sold in the markets like Divisoria in Tondo, Manila.
The Chinese cabbages are priced cheaper at only PhP70 a kilo compared to those coming from Benguet and nearby areas which is pegged from PhP115 to PhP125 a kilo. It is also said that the cabbages were transported from Cagayan de Oro.
As a result, the Hi-land Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative said that some of their buyers in Manila have lessened the volumes of cabbages they are purchasing from them from more than two tons to only 500 to 750 kilograms.
The cooperative wrote DA Cordillera last August 17 airing their problem.
Meanwhile, the DA-Cordillera Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) is currently inspecting the cabbages delivered in the city market. “We are advising vendors of vegetables to check that the source of their supply is legitimate,” stated the agency.