Farm group seeks more frontline inspection of agriculture imports



By Revin Mikhael D. Ochave, Reporter

A FARMERS’ group said a critical plan to curb smuggling of farm produce would require the stationing of Agriculture division personnel at ports of entry So as To discourage misdeclared shipments.

Raul Q. Montemightor, Federation of Free Farmers nationwide supervisor, informed BusinessWorld by way of Mobile telephone thOn The mannequin new measures agreed upon by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Bureau of Customs (BoC) are “Solely for current.”

“To regulate misdeclaration and undervaluation, the DA ought To place people Inside the ports To Search out out The exact grade and tariff strains for incoming imports So as that they are typically matched as quickly as extrast The proper reference prices of BoC,” he said.

Mr. Montemightor was referring to the current settlement between Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero To reinforce “second border” inspections and to type a technical working group Which will consider ideas on the dealing with of imported meals.  

In A press launch over the weekend, Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said all current and frozen agri-fishery shipments will nonetheless bear an “open-shut” examination On the port of entry, however Shall be topic to 100% inspection upon arrival On the “second border” or designated warehouses.

The DA added That it will work with the BoC to implement a stricter “second border” inspection and administration procedures To Guarantee meals safety, Which might embrace an investigation into whether or not items are correctly declared.

“This measure will only be short-term pending the completion of The primary border amenities that Shall be assembleed by the DA at primary ports, starting in Subic, to be Usually acknowledged as a Commodity Examination Facility for Agriculture (CEFA),” Mr. Dar said.

The CEFA goals to conduct a “full and thorough inspection of containerized agricultural commodities by way of hazard evaluation, Collectively with x-ray screening by the BoC, topicing all agricultural and meals imports to 100% sampling and laboratory testing.”

In July, the DA introduced that It is set To decide The primary CEFA On the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. That is typically a change to the DA’s preliminary plan to assemble such a facility On the Manila Worldwide Container Port, the place the division’s constructing plans have confronted delays. 

Jayson H. Cainglet, Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) authorities director, said in a Mobile telephone message thOn the cas quickly aspt of a “second border” is unusual And by no means addressed by Republic Act No. 10611 or the Food Safety Act.

 “In the parlance of internationwide commerce and internationwide markets, There’s not a such factor as a ‘second border’ as a Outcome of It is a gatemethod to smuggling and unsafe meals and tainted agricultural merchandise,” Mr. Cainglet said.

On Sunday, SINAG wrote to Senator Cynthia A. Villar To hunt The assist of her Senate Committee on Agriculture relating to the inspection regime for produce amid rampant vegetable smuggling.  

“We’re as quickly as extra interesting To evaluation and take to process these officers That are wanting Inside their duties To shield the agriculture sector, safeguard us as quickly as extrast the entry of unsafe meals and defend the nation from potential public well being considerations Inside The sunshine Of The current pandemic,” SINAG said Inside the letter.

“With out first border inspection, There’s not a method for The federal authorities to curb smuggling and makes the nation extra weak to well being pandemics, together with coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19),” it added.

Vegetable farmers have complained Regarding the proliferation of Low price smuggled greens Similar to carrots and cabbage in Metro Manila public markets.