MANILA — If there were indeed efforts to increase garlic production in the Philippines, why was the production of garlic decreasing?
Sen. Cynthia Villar raised this question in a Senate hearing on Monday lamenting the lack of efforts of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to produce more garlic and control its prices which have increased by as much as PHP40 per kilo.
Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, lamented how the attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA) also failed to stop the proliferation of garlic cartels.
“It’s subject to manipulation. I want to help garlic farmers to produce more. Because based on history from 2001 up to now, instead of producing increasing, it has been decreasing,” Villar told reporters in an interview.
She further said that although findings show that there was an increase in production, importations did not arrive. DA earlier said that the Philippines relied on imports for most of its garlic supply.
“…If you look at the price, PHP100 per kilo is a reasonable price for garlic. If it reaches PHP200 at or PHP300, there’s manipulation involved,” she added.
The senator, meanwhile, said that the BPI should step up in increasing the production of garlic so as not to rely on imports from other countries.
Moreover, she said that they should also assure that farmers are given quality seeds.
She questioned the BPI on their allocation of PHP2.5 billion for seeds to be distributed to farmers.
“I just want to know, what will happen to the PHP2.5 billion worth of seeds to be given to the farmers, and if the poor farmers actually receive them. We want them to account for that,” she said.