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    Posted February 13, 2014 by

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    Phl veggie industry feared to collapse

    FILIPINO farmers have warned that the local vegetable industry will collapse if imported and smuggled vegetables will continue to flood the local market.
    To prevent the collapse of the local market, Partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap on Thursday filed House Resolution 582 after the farmers complained of huge losses in potential buyers since imported vegetables started to enter the country.
    Hicap said the problem in the industry arises following the country's membership to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade-World Trade Organization (GATT-WTO) as it has become cheaper for big businessmen to import highland vegetables from China, Taiwan and other countries because of lower prices.
    "Farmers are pointing out that the increase in cheap agricultural imports has become the main threat to their livelihood. Complicating the problem is the lack of support services from the government, high cost of production, high land rental and landlessness," Hicap said.
    The lawmaker urged the House Special Committee on Globalization and WTO to conduct an inquiry on the effects of the implementation of GATT-WTO on the local vegetable industry.
    Hicap said from 1995 to 2011, the country's importation of vegetable and fruits totaled to 6.8 billion kilograms.
    He said the country's production of garlic, onion, broccoli, cauliflower and potato has reached 3.6 million metric tons.
    According to Hicap, the country's vegetable sector has been subjected to government's liberalized trade policy.
    "Tariffs on vegetable commodities have been reduced since 1980s when the government embarked on the comprehensive trade liberalization program under the country's Structural Adjustment Program (SAP)," Hicap said.
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