Are imports killing local garlic production?
Less harvest has resulted in an increase in farm gate prices for most local produce except for garlic, suggesting that imports did indeed flood the market in the first quarter of the year.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, garlic production dropped by almost 20 percent in the first quarter of the year to just 8,330 metric tons from 9,750 tons in the same period last year.
Farm gate prices of garlic, however, plummeted by 51 percent to just P49.76 per kilogram from P101.24 per kilo in the same period last year.
The PSA blamed the drop in farm gate prices of garlic on the smaller size of bulbs farmers produced.
It also blamed the stunted size of garlic on unfavourable weather conditions that affected the crop in Ilocos Norte.
The PSA said the land devoted to garlic production in MIMAROPA decreased in anticipation of the El Nino weather phenomenon.
The PSA does not provide separate entries for garlic in its report on imports and merchandise trade.
Its latest report on imports that covered January to February this year, imports of fruits and vegetables expanded by 77 percent to $104 million from just $58.7 million in the same period last year.
Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Cynthia Villar have pushed for a senate investigation on garlic smuggling into the country.
Villar filed her resolution as early as September, 9, 2013 while Santiago filed her resolution on September 11, 2013. (By: Eileen A. Mencias)