The Department of Agriculture (DA) will roll out on Tuesday locally-produced garlic to key Metro Manila public markets to counter what it said as the commodity’s “highly unusual’ price surge in the market, an Agriculture official said Monday.
Leandro Gazmin, DA OIC-Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing, said the agency is also set to convene Tuesday the National Garlic Action Team to formulate additional measures to address the problem.
Gazmin, concurrent director of the agency’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), said garlic sourced from accredited farmers’ cooperatives would be sold in key public markets notably Marikina, Commonwealth, Pasig and Nepa-Q Mart.
AMAS, in coordination with garlic producers’ cooperatives in Ilocos, Mindoro, Nueva Vizcaya, and Batanes, will be fielding 50 trucks to sell 435,000 kilograms of locally produced garlic to supply these markets, he said.
The Federation of Garlic Growers and Processors of Ilocos Provinces rolled out 300,000 kilos; the Kapisanan ng Magbabawang sa Isla ng Mindoro, 35,000 kilos; while the Batanes Province Garlic Growers and the Nueva Vizcaya Garlic Growers contributed 50,000 kilos each.
Gazmin said these would be sold at P100 to P200 per kilo depending on size.
Last week, prices of garlic skyrocketed to P290 per kilo for the imported variety and P180 per kilo for the local variety prompting Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to order an investigation.
According to Alcala, “the high price of garlic could be the handiwork of unscrupulous traders who want to create an artificial shortage.”
This was echoed by Gazmin who said that prices of garlic historically rise during this season “but never before of this magnitude.”
“Garlic farm gate prices usually go at P100 to P P130 per kilo during this time of the year; but now traders are upping the farm gate prices to P150 to P200 per kilo,” he said.
He said that possible hoarding of the commodity might have caused the price spike as he noted that only the imported variety could be found in the market.
“With this initial rolling out of local garlic, the DA, in coordination with local farmers and traders, will see to it that the commodity will be distributed the soonest possible time to prevent further price surges,” Gazmin assured.
In the meantime, the DA official called on the public to patronize locally-produced garlic which is cheaper and more economical to use.
He said that the small sizes only cost 80 centavos per piece, medium at P2.00, while the large ones averaged P3.65 each.
“Local garlic is also more potent that the imported kind; you need lesser amount of local garlic to flavor your food,” he said.
“More importantly, by patronizing our local product, we are helping our own farmers,” Gazmin said. PNA