Alcala said the commitment was made during a meeting held on July 18 called by the DA to arrest the influx of imported farm products, particularly onions in public markets and supermarkets. The meeting was attended by officials and representatives of the Philippine Association of Supermarkets Inc. (Pasi), Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association Inc., Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), Rustan’s Supermarket and a farmers’ group, the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magsisibuyas ng Nueva Ecija (Kasamne).
Pasi, the DA noted, indicated that they prefer selling organic agricultural products. The group was requested a list of organic products which the DA will refer to interested suppliers, farmers’ groups and producers.
The DA said HRAP committed to provide the DA with a list of farm and fishery products and ingredients that hotels and restaurants require and consume, which farmers’ groups could supply on a regular basis.
For its part, Kasamne committed to ensure a sustainable supply of onions. Its members will soon produce off-season yellow granex onions. These will be planted beginning August and could be harvested by October through November to meet the demand during the Christmas season.
Alcala said the DA will spearhead a program to revive the country’s garlic industry.
Imported onions and garlic are among the farm products usually sold in major supermarkets.
Alcala also said the agency will promote the production of local “Peking duck” to supply the requirements of Chinese restaurants.Some consumers prefer to patronize imported farm products such as garlic as these are cheaper than those produced locally.
Trade experts, however, noted that farmers in other countries can afford to bring down the prices of their farm goods because their production is subsidized by their governments.