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DA budget effective, not wasteful By Ernesto M. Ordoñez Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:42 pm | Thursday, October 18th, 2012 Share A CRITICAL segment of farmers and fisherfolk views the proposed 2013 Department of Agriculture (DA) budget of P74.1 billion with optimism and caution. Optimism, because of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala’s integrity and dedication. Caution, because of a few key Agriculture officials who may not have the commitment or the capacity to fulfill Alcala’s vision of development. Last Oct. 16 during a Senate hearing on the 2013 DA budget, the Alyansa Agrikultura submitted a list of recommended provisions to make the DA budget more effective, rather than wasteful. The Alyansa, composed of 42 federations and organizations representing all agricultural and fishery sectors, took into account the recommendations of its members, AF 2025 participants, Rice Watch, Alternative Budget Initiative (ATI) and Oxfam. Reality check In 2011, the DA budget doubled to P34.8 billion from its level a few years earlier. It was then increased by 52 percent to P52.9 billion in 2012. With DA-attached agencies included, this amounts to P64.1 billion, with a proposed 21-percent increase to P74.1 billion next year. With these significant increases, agricultural growth is expected to accelerate. Unfortunately, the 2011 growth was only 2.34 percent. This is only half the planned annual agricultural growth of 4.3 percent to 5.3 percent which the government has set in its 2011-2016 mid-term development plans. ****The 2012 growth in agriculture, as compared to other sectors, is listed in the table below: Despite a 52-percent increase in the 2012 DA budget, agricultural growth rose by less than 1 percent. Only 73 percent of the 2011 budget was used, leaving P12.2 billion that could have been used to enhance agricultural growth in 2012. Rice We must do all we can to support DA’s ambitious and praiseworthy goal of attaining rice self-sufficiency by 2013.

This will not be easy. The 2010 palay yield reached 16.7 million tons. In 2011, the yield barely rose to 16.8 million tons despite the increase in budget. For the country to attain its 2013 goal of becoming self-sufficient in rice, the Philippines will have to increase production from the 2011 level by 20 percent to yield 20.04 million tons. This is difficult when viewed against the average annual palay yield increase of only 3.7 percent for the past ten years. It has been argued that the target can be attained by raising the budget on irrigation. The irrigation budget of P24.5 billion this year is double the P12.8 billion of last year. The budget will also go up to P27.4 billion next year. We recommend that a provision be included in the proposed budget of 2013 to ensure that the budget is properly spent. A December 2011 COA report shows unsatisfactory findings involving irrigation projects that are said to be completed, amounting to P80.4 billion, and those that are still ongoing, worth P61.5 billion. This is alarming. Two provisions for adequate funding should therefore be included in the proposed 2013 budget. One is for capability building for the new irrigation farmer organizations, which will take charge of the proposed 135,000 irrigated hectares. The other is for irrigation project monitoring by civil service organizations. Without this independent monitoring, the COA report for 2013 may become worse, and the expected rice improvements may not be attained. Smuggling There is no specific DA provision to address smuggling, a key obstacle to agricultural growth. Across all agricultural sectors, the Alyansa published an average 30-percent discrepancy between the converging import level reports of three independent organizations and the Bureau of Customs (BoC). The difference can be accounted for mostly by outright smuggling, or technical smuggling (i.e., undervaluation, misdeclaration and misclassification). For key agricultural sectors, this may be worse. In a published report, former Senator Ernesto Maceda showed that more than half of the rice imports were smuggled. Columnist Alex Magno published a similar finding on this issue. During an Oct. 14 Senate hearing, false information was given, alleging that the DA personnel were already accessing the Inward Foreign Manifest (IFM) that had been previously held only by the BoC.

The IFM lists the import data two days before arrival. Thus, all agricultural imports that do not have import permits are smuggled, and therefore can be confiscated for smuggling. Unfortunately, my personal interviews with DA personnel who have access to this IFM data reveal that they are still not doing it because of the complicated procedure the BoC gave them, as well as the lack of six computers. If there is an anti-smuggling budget provision, procedures like IFM access and other antismuggling actions can be undertaken effectively to stop this scourge on the agricultural community. Conclusion President Aquino has said, “ikaw ang boss ko,� referring to the Filipino people. It is now necessary for the Senate and the DA to listen to the recommendations of the farmers and fisherfolk before the 2013 budget is finalized. Additional provisions such as the two recommended here should be included in the 2013 budget so that it will be effective, rather than wasteful. Otherwise, the DA budget can become a bane, rather than a boon, for agricultural development. (The author is chair of Agriwatch, former secretary for presidential flagship programs and projects, and former undersecretary for Agriculture, and Trade and Industry. For inquiries and suggestions, email or telefax (02) 8522112)

PH may end rice imports in 2013 By Othel V. Campos | Posted on Oct. 19, 2012 at 12:01am | 246 views The government may stop importing rice as early as next year in case of a bumper harvest in the third cropping season, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said Thursday. “There is no evaluation yet but if the third cropping harvest will be successful we might not as well import anymore,” Alcala said in an interview. Third cropping season covers the months of September to January. Alcala said there was a big chance the department might abandon the plan to import the estimated volume of 100,000 to 150,000 metric tons of rice in 2013, as the self-sufficiency in rice production could be achieved ahead of target. Initial estimates showed a possible additional harvest of 400,000 metric tons on top of the projected full-year output of 17.8 million MT this year. “We may achieve our target to attain self-sufficiency [in rice] status earlier. Instead of end-2013, we might be self-sufficient in rice by early 2013,” Alcala said. He said based on recent estimates of better harvest, rice self sufficiency might happen in the first semester of 2013. He noted that the climate this year has “so far, been favorable to agriculture.” “We were not hit that hard by these first few typhoons,” he said. The government, based on the updated strategic plan of the Agriculture Rice Program, expects rice production to reach sufficiency level at 20.04 million MT in 2013 and further to 21 million MT in 2014 and 22 million MT each in 2015 to 2016. The country’s rice sufficiency level should be about 95 percent, if the target tonnage is reached in 2012. Sufficiency level in 2011 was 94 percent. Alcala cited the need for a bigger budget to support the programs that will boost the bid for a foodsufficient Philippines by 2013 onwards. He said sufficiency in the country’s food staples, rice and corn, should be on top of the list, while “vegetables and the rest of other agriculture commodities should follow.” The Agriculture Department presented to the Senate a proposed budget of P74.9 billion for fiscal year 2013. Almost all bureaus and attached agencies of the department will get incremental budgetary allocation to fund ongoing developmental programs. Senator Edgardo Angara suggested that the department increase the budget for research and development to make way for new research studies and technologies that will help the government attain its food security targets.This prompted the department to increase the budget for research and development to P2.5 billion from the Congress-approved budget of P1.45 billion.

DA eyes zero rice imports in 2013 Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:41 Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter MANILA is not keen on tapping the international rice market next year to beef up its stocks even as the Department of Agriculture (DA) admitted it has yet to evaluate the country’s rice requirements and supply for 2013. Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala said the government is banking on the increase in the output of the third crop which is projected to yield as much as 400,000 metric tons (MT) of unmilled rice, barring bad weather. “An assessment of the country’s rice requirements for next year has yet to be undertaken [by the Inter-Agency Committee on Rice and Corn]. But it appears that rice importation for 2013 may settle at between 100,000 to 150,000 MT,” said Alcala in an interview. “E kung ganyan din lang kaliit at sucessful naman ang third cropping, we might as well not import anymore,” he said. Early this year, the government rolled out a program which calls for changing the cropping calendar for palay in irrigated areas. Under the government’s plan, farmers were enjoined to plant a month earlier or by April for the wet-cropping season in 2012. Harvest started in August. The plan also called for a third cropping which may start in the middle of September or in October. The early cropping scheme, the DA said, is expected to add 1 million tons to palay output and boost total unmilled rice output to more than 18 million tons for 2012. Should the weather continue to cooperate and the government succeeds in its new cropping scheme, Alcala said “self sufficiency” in rice for the Philippines may happen in the first semester of 2013, instead of end-2013.He said the weather so far has been “cooperative” this year and that the storms that hit the Philippines in recent months have not caused significant damage on the country’s rice sector. For 2012, the Philippines authorized the importation of 500,000 MT, the bulk of which or 380,000 MT was taken up by the private sector. The rest was brought in by the National Food Authority (NFA). The Philippine government entered the international rice market in March. The 120,000 bought by the NFA augmented the stocks of the food agency as per its mandate to have 30 days’ worth of rice stocks when the lean season for rice starts in July.

PH to rely more on own rice output Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00 The Philippines will rely more heavily on its own rice production, but will still need to import from Cambodia, Vietnam or Thailand to serve as buffer stock during the lean season in July. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told reporters that he is considering importing 100,000 to 150,000 metric tons of rice by 2013 on expectations of better palay production in the last quarter of this year. “This is in line with our rice self-sufficiency roadmap. The National Food Authority Council will still have to decide on the matter once the wet cropping production figures are on hand,” Alcala said. The Philippines has been citing the self-sufficiency program in rice and overall growth in the crops sub-sector as the main drivers of a forecast 4 to 5 percent growth in agriculture. The country imported 500,000 MT of milled rice for 2012, of which some 120,000 MT was purchased by the National Food Authority as a buffer stock during the lean season. Last year, the country imported 860,000 MT of rice, with the private sector accounting for 600,000 MT while farmers’ groups imported 60,000 MT. On the other hand, the NFA imported 200,000 MT. For 2010, Manila imported a record 2.45 million MT. Meanwhile, Alcala said the NFA Council would carefully consider the country’s import requirements as the government prepares its own rice export policy by 2013. Alcala said the government is strengthening the NFA’s palay procurement capability lessen rice importation. The DA targets to produce 18.46 million MT of rice this year and more than 20 MMT by 2013 to attain 100 percent sufficiency. In 2011, the country managed to harvest 16.68 MMT of rice despite strong typhoons, 5.8 percent more than the 15.77 MMT produced in 2010.

BOC seizes P40-M ‘hot’ Peking duck, pigeon meat Category: Economy Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 20:14 Written by Joel R. San Juan / Reporter

THE Bureau of Customs (BOC) has intercepted some P40 million worth of Peking ducks and pigeons which were smuggled into the country from China a few days ago by misdeclaring the shipment as frozen mackerel. In an interview, Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon assured that those involved in the illegal importation of the Peking ducks and pigeon meat will face criminal charges. Biazon said the importation of the Peking ducks and pigeon meat have been banned due to bird flu risks. The confiscated items were loaded in two 40-footer reefer vans that arrived from China on October 15 at the Port of Manila (POM). The items were detected by operatives of the BOC’s X-Ray Inspection Project (XIP) under lawyer Ma. Lourdes Mangaoang. Biazon said the shipment was consigned to local importer HEXA Trading which officials may be sued for violations of the tariff and customs law. “The importer of these Peking ducks and pigeons may have underestimated the capabilities of our x-ray machines and thought that they would be able to do away with their illegal trade by concealing their hot shipment behind the pile of boxes of frozen mackerel inside the reefer vans,” Biazon said. “This will definitely be a costly lesson for HEXA Trading as not only will the BOC confiscate their two reefer vans of Peking ducks and pigeons, but we will also sue the officials of this company for violations of the Tariffs and Customs Code of the Philippines [TCCP],” he added. The BOC is currently on an overdrive mode in its campaign against smuggling with the on-set of the “ber” months. Moreover, it is also aggressively pursuing the cases against violators of the TCCP.

Mangaoang, on the other hand, said that in compliance with Biazon’s instruction to subject all reefer vans to x-ray scanning with on-set of the Christmas season, the shipment were scanned by her operatives on October 16. “When the two containers passed through our x-ray scanners, suspicious images appeared on our monitors prompting us to recommend to Commissioner Biazon for the issuance of the corresponding alert orders. And upon full inspection of the two reefer vans, we discovered the concealed Peking ducks and pigeons in the two vans,” Mangaoang said. This developed as the BOC filed smuggling charges at the Department of Justice against two traders in connection with the attempt to smuggle in some P19 million worth of onions and garlic from China on two different occasions this year. Biazon identified the traders as Rady Garbosa and Carlos Uy, who owns RSG Marketing and Aqua Blue Marine Trading, respectively. Garbosa was charged with violation of Sections 101 and 3601 of the TCCP and Section 2, Rule II of the Bureau of Plant Industry quarantine Administrative Order No. 1 when he misdeclared his P10 million worth of onions as fresh pears. Onion importation in the country is regulated to protect the interest of local onion raisers. Garbosa’s five 40-footer container vans shipment of onions arrived at the Manila International Container Port on August 2. Uy is also being charged for the same violations with Garbosa when he tried to illegally bring into the country four forty-footer container vans of garlic worth P9 million from China. Uy’s shipment of hot garlic arrived at the POM on June 27. “Our formal filing of smuggling cases against Garbosa and Uy today is just the start of an even more focused and determined initiative to get convictions on these two cases,” Biazon said. “We have to jail smugglers, if we want to put a stop to smuggling, especially those who indulge in agricultural products smuggling as it is not only killing the local onion industry, it is virtually killing the families of onion raisers,” he added. Uy’s garlic shipment was seized by virtue of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention issued by POM District Collector Rogel Gatchalian after Deputy Commissioner Horacio Suansing’s issuance of an alert order on said shipment led to the discovery of the illegal garlic importation. On the other hand, Garbosa’s shipment was seized by the BOC after its hot onions were discovered during the container vans’ 100-percent examination by virtue of an alert order issued by Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence Group Danilo Lim.

Farmers seek distribution of Fort Magsaysay land Category: Nation Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:57 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter

SOME 100 farmers from Dingalan, Aurora, on Thursday trooped to Malacañang to ask for the distribution of a portion of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) to landless farmers through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer). They appealed to President Aquino to amend Presidential Proclamation (PP) 237 signed by President Ramon Magsaysay on December 18, 1955, which created and transferred ownership of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation to the Army. Eduardo Mora, president of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP), said the military reservation, once fully utilized, would help boost farmers’ income and promote agricultural productivity. During their rally, the protesters were met by Ana de la Vega, a lawyer from the office of Presidential Political Adviser Ronald Llamas, who promised to facilitate a dialogue between them and Mr. Aquino. Mora said they will ask Mr. Aquino to amend PP 237 so that the Fort Magsaysay land can be distributed to landless farmers through the agrarian-reform program. The military reservation spans the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora. Fort Magsaysay is the home of the Army’s 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division, the Armed Forces Special Operations Command (Socom) made up of the Light Reaction Battalion, the Special Forces Regiment, the Scout Ranger Regiment and the Psychological Warfare Group as well as the Army Aviation Battalion that is attached to the Light Armored Division. The farmers from the four barangays of Matawe, Ibona, Cargsacan and Butas na Bato have been cultivating land inside the military reservation for more than four decades.

They first won a battle for the right to cultivate within the military reservation after 4,752 hectares of land were awarded to 805 farmer-beneficiaries in 1993. Today, however, they fear that the Armed Forces will eventually eject them out of the military reservation. The farmers are members of the Task Force Military Reservation, an alliance of six farmers’ organizations, namely, Agusis Upland Farmers’ Association, Matawe Upland Farmers’ Association, Small Coconut Farmers’ Association, Sitio Tapao Upland Farmers’ Association, Abongan, Camiling, Cailugan Ibona Upland Farmers’ Association, and Lingap Bundok sa Barangay Caragsacan. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, told the BusinessMirror that military reservations are not covered by CARP. He said that to be covered by CARP, land ownership must be transferred to the DAR for distribution.

In Photo: Roman Catholic priests and supporters stand in front of lighted candles forming the word “Justice” as they commemorate the first anniversary of the death of Italian priest Fr. Fausto Tentorio outside a church in downtown Manila. Tentorio, a native of Santa Maria Hoe town in Italy’s Lecco province, was approaching his car when a gunman shot him several times inside the church compound in Arakan, North Cotabato, last year. (AP)

PHL lags behind other countries in agricultural growth, says IBON Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:31 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga / Reporter NO amount of modernization or capital infusion in agriculture driven by foreign investment can help the country attain food self-sufficiency. This was stressed by the private think-tank IBON Foundation as it reiterated the need for the free distribution of lands to landless farmers to boost agricultural production. According to IBON, the problematic implementation of land reform hinders the country from attaining food self-sufficiency. As the country commemorates World Food Day and Peasant Month, IBON said free-land distribution to farmers is one of the fundamental requirements towards realizing food security. The group said that while the Philippine government aims to attain rice self-sufficiency by 2013, the country is lagging behind its Asian neighbors in terms of agricultural growth. IBON said that a study commissioned by the government revealed that Philippine agriculture is 20 years behind other Asian countries. “The country’s land productivity in terms of yield of traditional crops has declined, even as the labor productivity of farmers and agricultural workers has increased annually,” a statement released by IBON said. Comparing land productivity with ASEAN member countries, the Philippines ranked 4th in rice, coconut, sugarcane, and 5th in corn, IBON said. Meanwhile, World Bank data also showed that Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth in agriculture—or the ratio of machinery investment in productivity—has stagnated in the Philippines at 0.2 percent per year over the past two decades, compared to 1 percent per year in Thailand, 1.5 percent per year in Indonesia, and 4.7 percent in China. Moreover, the Philippines is also the only net importing country in agriculture among ASEAN members with a trade deficit of $2.4 billion in 2009. The country’s total agricultural imports amounted to US$ 6.1 billion, with rice and milk among its top imports. Meanwhile, Philippine agricultural exports in 2009 amounted to only US$3.2 billion, which was small compared to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, which had over US$20 billion each. According to IBON, the Philippines has become the world’s largest

importer of rice, which is ironic because the country is among the world’s major rice producers. Yet, IBON lamented that despite the food insecurity and overdependence on rice imports, the government is implementing the food staples self-sufficiency roadmap 2011-2016 which aims to achieved rice self-sufficiency by 2013. However the roadmap, like previous agricultural modernization programs, espouses global competitiveness of local agriculture – it prioritizes production of exports instead of domestic food. The program, IBON added, has also largely been criticized for its bias for private foreign agribusiness, from which funding for the program would come. “No amount of modernization or capital infusion in agriculture driven by foreign investment can help the country attain food self-sufficiency [if] it is done in the same context of landlessness, the research group said. Jonathan L. Mayuga

Government seeks extension of tuna fishing in Pacific Ocean Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:27 Written by Jennifer A. Ng / Reporter MANILA is requesting the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to extend the Philippines’ access to a portion of the Pacific Ocean for tuna fishing beyond February 2013. Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Asis Perez said the government is already conducting informal talks with member countries of the WCPFC for the extension of the Philippines access to “High Seas Pocket Number 1 Special Management Area.” “We have started country-to-country talks so we can extend the access of local tuna catchers in a portion of the Pacific Ocean. It’s important for us to have continuing access to the high seas,” said Perez in an interview. He said the losses incurred by the Philippine fishing sector in the last two years was due to the closure of the high seas to tuna fishing. Perez said local tuna catchers have started to fish in the high seas on Oct. 1. Access to the high seas was limited to 36 catcher-fishing vessels. Local tuna catchers, however, were given access only until February next year. At a projected 24-ton catch per fishing vessel, tuna catch of local fishermen may reach 103,000 MT for 120 days. Perez said it is possible the WCPFC will decide on the Philippines’ bid to have continuing access to the high seas during its meeting in Manila on Dec. 2-6. In April, the Philippines was granted access to a portion of the Pacific Ocean called “High Seas Pocket Number 1 Special Management Area.” The High Seas Pocket no. 1 was identified as the “area of high seas bounded by the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the Federated States of Micronesia to the north and east, Republic of Palau to the west, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea to the south.” The Philippines pushed for access to a portion of the high seas in the Pacific due to “increasing fishing pressures in the territorial waters and Philippine EEZ as a result of the closure of the high seas.”

Manila said the territorial waters and EEZ of the Philippines are “important� spawning grounds of tunas and tuna-like species. Fishing pressures due to the closure of the high seas will deplete the juveniles of these tuna and tuna-like species stock, the Philippines noted. The WCPFC imposed the ban on tuna fishing in certain pockets of the high seas in the Pacific Ocean to protect the remaining population of the yellow-fin and big-eye tuna. The ban took effect on Jan. 1, 2010, and was supposed to have expired on Dec. 31, 2011. The commission was created by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The convention seeks to address problems in the management of high-seas fisheries resulting from a number of factors including unregulated fishing, overcapitalization, and excessive fleet capacity.

LBP releases additional loans of P4.7B for government's agricultural production October 18, 2012 10:07 pm MANILA, Oct. 18 — State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) released an additional P4.7 billion worth of loans in the first eight months of this year as part of the effort to boost the government’s thrust towards food sufficiency and increase agricultural productivity. LBP president Gilda Pico said that since the start of the Food Supply Chain Program in 2010, the total loan releases to Landbank’s priority sectors reached P14.5 billion, benefitting some 152 anchor firms and 410 cooperatives, farmers’ organizations and producers in Northern and Central Luzon. The total amount includes the P4.6 billion in loans to beneficiary projects, firms, cooperatives and producers in Northern and Central Luzon; P3.5 billion in Visayas; P3.4 billion in Mindanao; and P3.1 billion in Southern Luzon, Pico added. “We are pleased the FSCP is further gaining momentum as more farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives and organizations, as well as SMEs and NGOs stand to benefit from the program,” the official said. "We are committed to seeing this program to fruition as we endeavor to provide better opportunities and improve the lives of our priority sectors,” she added. The Food Supply Chain Program provides financial assistance to key players in the food system such as agricultural producers, service providers, processors and various market players; forms market linkages between agricultural producers and processors; and offers capacity building support to strengthen farmers’ organizations and enable them to meet product requirements of anchor firms. Anchors firms are, in turn, expected to buy the produce of the participating cooperatives and organizations, and provide technical assistance to improve productivity and product quality. Among the projects now being implemented are hog fattening; oil palm production and processing; fruits and vegetable production and processing; rice and corn production, processing and trading; cardava banana production and processing; fish production and processing; onion production, cold storage and marketing; and sugarcane production and milling. (PNA) SCS/JKG/JCF

Pork shortage looms over hoarding of corn By Rio N. Araja | Posted on Oct. 19, 2012 at 12:01am | 259 views Consumers are facing a shortage of pork in the second quarter of 2013 because of corn hoarding in Mindanao, a party-list representative said on Thursday. The shortage could reach 30 percent by April next year when hoarding of corn, a major cereal feed for hogs, hits its peak, said Rep. Nicanor Briones of Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines. He blamed the impending shortage on “overhoarding” of the supply of local corn feeds. “The shortage will not yet be felt in December, but in April,” Briones told the Manila Standard. Agap called on Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala to look into the alleged corn hoarding of large distributors, particularly the Mindanao Grain Corp., while urging the government to import corn feeds to put an end to the practice. “Distributors will be forced to bring out their trade once there is an oversupply of imported corn feeds,” he said. Apart from importation, Briones said the Agriculture and Trade and Industry Departments should inspect corn feed warehouses of traders, and investigate those without corn farms or millers, who are likely hoarding the corn feeds. “Despite (being) harvest time, the cost of corn has gone up from P12 per kilo to P17 per kilo. We (should) have enough supply because it is harvest time. The price of corn went up because of hoarders,” Briones said. Because of the higher production cost, hog raisers were left with no option but to sell their pigs for a higher price, he noted. “Consumers, 70 percent of the country’s backyard hog raisers and the 40 million agriculture farmers would have to bear the brunt of the impact of hoarding next year,” he said. Meanwhile, the Customs bureau has filed criminal charges against two suspected smugglers of onions and garlic from China worth a combined P19 million.

Charged with smuggling before the Department of Justice were traders Rady Garbosa and Carlos R. Uy for attempting to bring the two shipments into the country on separate dates without the required government permits. Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon said the Binondo-based Garbosa, who owns RSG Marketing, was charged for violation of the Tariffs and Customs Code and Bureau of Plant Industry Quarantine Administrative Order No. 1 after the trader misdeclared the P10 million worth of onions as fresh pears. Biazon said onion importation in the country is regulated to protect the interest of local onion raisers. Garbosa’s five 40-foot container vans shipment of onions arrived at the Manila International Container Port on August 2. Uy, a Laguna-based trader who owns the Aqua Blue Marine Trading, was charged for the same offense, after he tried to illegally bring into the country four 40-foot container vans of garlic worth P9 million from China. Uy’s shipment arrived at the Port of Manila (POM) on June 27. Uy’s garlic shipment was seized by virtue of a Warrant of Seizure and Detention issued by the Port of Manila after Deputy Commissioner Horacio Suansing issued an Alert Order on the shipment which led to the discovery of the illegal garlic importation. Garbosa’s shipment, meanwhile, was intercepted after Customs agents discovered that it contained garlic during an examination of the container vans. Deputy Commissioner for Revenue Collection and Monitoring Group and Run-AfterThe-Smugglers head Peter Manzano said his team will pursue the cases they have filed against Garbosa and Uy. With Joel Zurbano

NMIS to put up 9 AA abattoirs By Czeriza Valencia (The Philippine Star) Updated October 19, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0) View comments MANILA, Philippines - The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) is putting up nine double A slaughterhouses in nine provinces this year. Funding of P84 million is allotted for the construction of the slaughterhouses which are expected to be completed by next year. The Department of Agriculture (DA) signed yesterday memorandum of agreements (MOA) with nine provinces for the construction of the slaughterhouses. The National Government and the local government units would have a 50-50 equity in the building of the slaughter houses. Technical assistance for the project was provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. Since the beginning of the year, the NMIS has been tightening the inspection procedures for meat products. The Agriculture department and the NMIS want to eliminate the proliferation of double dead meat in markets by next year. “When consumers hear about the proliferation of botcha (double dead meat) in the market, they shift to consumption of other products. This affects the meat industry,� he said during the 26th Meat Safety Consciousness Week celebration held at the NMIS compound in Quezon City yesterday. The new slaughterhouses would be put up in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur; Calasiao, Pangasinan; Bongabong Oriental Mindoro; Boac, Marinduque; Libon, Albay; Toledo, Cebu; Clarin, Misamis Occidental; Digos, Davao del Sur; Alabel, Sarangani. NMIS director Minda Manantan also said 30 new veterinarians would join the agency this year. The DA has earlier allotted P180 million for the construction of two triple A slaughterhouses for export production in Luzon this year. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said by next month, the location of the slaughterhouse would be finalized but sites in Laguna and Tanauan are now being considered.

Dolphin export allowed By Rio N. Araja | Posted on Oct. 19, 2012 at 12:00am | 109 views

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has allowed the Department of Agriculture and its Bureau Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to issue a permit to export 25 bottle-nose dolphins to Singapore. Judge Evangeline Marigomen of Branch 101 denied the extension of a 72-hour temporary environmental protection order blocking Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and BFAR director Asis Perez to issue the permit. But Trixie Concepcion, regional director for Asia-Pacific of the Earth Island Institute, said their lawyer Amelito Antonio Velasco will appeal Marigomen’s decision not to extend the TEPO issued by Executive Judge Bernelito Fernandez last Oct. 12.

Farmers’ co-ops disown seized rice Firm surfaces at hearing to claim ownership of shipment from Vietnam By Mar S. Arguelles Inquirer Southern Luzon 12:39 am | Friday, October 19th, 2012 Share LEGAZPI CITY—The mystery deepens over the P141 million worth of rice believed to be smuggled from Vietnam and which found its way to this city’s port. At a hearing yesterday here, three farmers’ groups that were listed as consignees of the rice shipment denied that they sought permits to import the rice. Representatives of the farmers groups—Ugnayan Magbubukid ng San Isidro, Pampanga (Ugnayan); Karapatan Takusa Multi-Purpose Cooperative Malipampang Concerned Citizen Inc. (Karapatan) and Samahan ng Magsasakang Kapampangan at Katagalogan (SMKK)—told the Bureau of Customs that they did not import the rice. In the same hearing, a private firm surfaced to claim ownership of the shipment. Representatives of the firm Green Valley United Corp. told Customs officials at the hearing that the firm is the shipment’s owner although it is not listed as a consignee. The shipment, consisting of 94,000 bags of Vietnam rice, arrived at the city port last Sept. 2. It was consigned to the National Food Authority on behalf of several farmers’ cooperatives that included the three groups that denied having any role in the importation. A list of the consignees purportedly showed that 21,000 bags were for Ugnayan, 21,000 bags were for Karapatan and 18,000 bags were for SMKK. The three farmers’ cooperatives, however, denied that they were consignees of the rice shipment. Only two of the farmers’ groups that are listed as consignees acknowledged the importation. They are the Sili Multi-Purpose Cooperative and the Samahan ng mga Kapampangan sa San Ildefonso. Representatives of the two groups claimed they have importation documents. Also at the Customs hearing here, the lawyer of Ming Truong Shipping Lines, the agent that brought in the rice, filed a motion asking Customs officials to release the vessel used for the shipment, MV Minh Tuan 68, and discharge the rice cargo. The Customs bureau had issued a warrant of seizure and detention that prevented the vessel from leaving the city port and prevented the release of the rice cargo. The shipping company claimed that it has been incurring huge losses since the vessel was prevented from leaving the city port and kept docked there for more than a month now.

Christopher Inducil, lawyer and Customs hearing officer, said the Customs bureau would soon decide when to release the vessel. Inducil said the vessel was found to have complied with environmental laws after an inspection by the Philippine Coast Guard. Inducil said the bureau would also decide on a request by those behind the rice shipment to transfer the venue of the hearing to the Customs office in Manila. A decision may be out on this matter by Nov. 8, according to Inducil.

Onion smugglers use Visayas as entry point Published on Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00 Onion producers claim that smugglers are using the ports in Visayas to unload illegal shipments from China and India. Sibuyas ng Pilipinas Ating Alagaan (SIPAG) founder Benito M. Domingo said ships from China and India offload smuggled onions to Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Davao ports. Some 15 to 20 40-foot-equivalent containers per week are unloaded with 4,500 bags weighing 10 kilos each per container. The smuggled goods are transported to the Visayas and Luzon on inter-island vessels. Smugglers have shifted to the backdoor since a crackdown begun last year on onion smuggling at the Manila International Container Port, South Harbor, Subic and Batangas ports. Also, despite the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) non-issuance of import permit for almost one year now in an aim to protect Filipino farmers, imported onions are flooding the market and storage facilities. These compete head-on with their 50 percent cut-price versus local onion price. Imported onion price is depressed by smugglers to P35 per kilo in order to kill the local onion selling at around P60 per kilo. For his part, Francisco U. Collado, SIPAG president, wrote Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon on October 8, 2012 to report the proliferation of smuggled onions in supermarkets and groceries. Collado told Biazon that since the Department of Agriculture (DA) had not issued import permits for red and yellow onions, the only logical conclusion is that the onions were brought into the country illegally.

Coco water exports up 80% in first half Philippine Daily Inquirer 11:39 pm | Thursday, October 18th, 2012 Share The country’s coconut water exports surged by 81 percent, in terms of volume, in the first semester of 2012, to 10.249 million liters from 5.662 million liters in the same period in 2011. The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) also reported a 100.54-percent rise in export value to $11.8 million from $5.57 million in the previous year. Earlier, the PCA expressed confidence that the 2012 coconut water production would exceed the 2011 level. The rise in coconut water exports can be attributed to the growing health consciousness of the market. “Local consumption is also gaining ground, fueled by coconut water’s increased popularity as a health drink in the west. The healthy trend has likewise gained traction in the country, making coconut water a more fashionable health drink. Coconut water is consumed locally through markets or street vendors, or in packaged plastic, both of which have limited shelf life,” said Beverly Po, product manager of Pepsi Cola Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI). The next frontier in consumer availability for coconut water is in packaging, which can meet increasing demand in exports and local consumers. Tropicana Coco Quench, available in Tetra Pak packages, is stepping up to the plate by providing up to eight months of shelf life for coconut water. “We launched Tropicana Coco Quench as a response to increasing demand for healthy yet convenient products. By keeping the taste, freshness, and nutrients of coconut water intact, we provide consumers with a true alternative to getting your coconut water from the wet market.” Tropicana Coco Quench is the first locally produced and locally distributed packaged coconut water drink with up to eight months shelf life.

Aquino warned: Poverty, hunger trigger upheavals Category: Agri-Commodities Published on Thursday, 18 October 2012 19:24 Written by Jonathan L. Mayuga FOOD security advocates warned President Aquino against the brewing unrest among the growing number of poor who are experiencing involuntary hunger. Task Force Food Sovereignty blamed the privatization of vital services and the Aquino administration’s pro-agribusiness policies. Members of TFFS stormed Malacanang to press for genuine food security, which should begin with a pro-poor food and agriculture policies, Arze Glippo, TFFS lead convener said. According to Glippo, the Aquino administration continues to espouse market-driven and corporate-friendly agriculture policies which place profit-making above the goal of providing food for all. The group believes that the public private partnership model and large-scale private investments will place control over the country’s food production system in the hands of corporations and private investors who are more interested in producing cash crops and biofuels. The group also said that the rising food prices, which in 2008 led to the first global food crisis in decades is something that the Aquino administration should worry about. “High food prices, brought about by extreme weather and increasing financial speculation in food derivatives, coupled with dwindling rural incomes due to government’s decadeslong neglect of agriculture are a major problem. Government needs to address this by increasing local palay procurement, shoring up rice reserves and maintaining quantitative restrictions on rice imports,” Glipo said. According to TFFS, increased food price volatility and rising prices, a major global policy concern, should be seriously considered in reviewing the government’s plan to privatize the National Food Authority. The food agency mandated to stabilize food prices, particularly rice, is an integral part of government’s policy intervention toolbox. Glippo said that NFA should live up to expectations that it exist to ensure fair income for producers while protecting consumers, particularly the poor, from high food prices.

She said that privatizing the NFA now makes no sense. The group said it is ironic that the country’s food producers themselves remain poor and could afford to buy their own produce. TFFS said that the brewing discontent could snowball into the kind of unrest that brought down governments in other parts of the world. They reminded Mr. Aquino that high food prices have played a major part in past upheavals including the recent Arab Spring.

2012 10 19 - QUEDANCOR Daily News Monitor  

News monitor for 2012 10 19

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