Supermarkets, restaurants support DA’s call to sell, use local agri products
Major supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants recently committed to support the government’s call to patronize, sell, and use local agriculture and fishery products, and thus support Filipino farmers and their families.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the private sector’s commitment will provide the much-needed boost to promote local farm products versus imported ones, and subsequently encourage Filipino farmers to produce more and earn sustainable incomes.
The commitment was a result of a DA-initiated meeting held July 18, called and chaired by Sec. Alcala, 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. (PAG-ASA), Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), Rustan’s Supermarket, and a farmers’ group, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magsisibuyas ng Nueva Ecija (KASAMNE).
They said they are behind Secretary Alcala’s thrust to promote, sell, and use Filipino farm and fishery products.
Sec. Alcala said the DA-AMAS will establish a central depot or distribution hub where small supermarkets could buy their regular stocks of various agri-fishery products, including onions. He made the commitment in response to the suggestion of Steven Cua of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association.
For her part, Ms. Lolet Fernandez of PASI said they prefer selling organic agricultural products. She has requested her to provide a list of organic products, which the DA will refer to interested suppliers, farmers’ groups, and producers.
Also, Eugene Yap of HRAP committed to provide the DA with the list of farm and fishery products and ingredients that hotels and restaurants require and consume, which farmers’ groups could supply on a regularly 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.
Sec. Alcala also said the DA will spearhead a program to revive the country’s garlic industry.
He said the agency will also promote the production of local “pekin duck” to supply the requirements of Chinese restaurants.
During the meeting, Sec. Alcala commended Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez on their successful seizure of 4,000 bags of imported red onions worth P3.5 million. The initiative was part of the Customs Oplan Sagip-Agri (COSA) project, which confiscates previously “cleared” imported products and penalizes erring importers.
Sec. Alcala asked the BOC to implement COSA nationwide.
The July 18 meeting was facilitated by the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (AMAS), led by Director Leandro H. Gazmin, and was attended by other DA attached agencies, and the DTI.