AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol has appealed to traders dealing in agricultural goods “to be patriotic” by favoring domestic produce over imports.
“I cannot stop them from importing because it’s allowed by law. But I’m appealing to the sense of patriotism of our local businesses. Let’s focus on our Filipino farmers and fishermen first,” he told reporters.
“This is high time for Filipino businessmen to be patriotic and they can do that by limiting their importation of basic agriculture products.”
The official particularly singled out feed millers for opting to purchase imported wheat and corn.
“I don’t think it would really affect their businesses that much if they buy local corn, say [at] a higher price of 50 centavos per kilo,” Mr. Piñol said.
Domestic corn growers have asked the Department of Agriculture to look into the low prices of corn with possible reasons of overimportation of feed wheat.
The Philippine Association of Feed Millers, Inc. was asked for comment but had not replied at deadline time.
Economist Rolando T. Dy, executive director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia & the Pacific, asked for comment on Mr. Piñol’s appeal, said in an e-mail: “Its all about feed economics and appeal to patriotism.”
Wheat used in the feed industry is levied a 7% most-favored nation duty while imported corn from Thailand comes in at the ASEAN rate of 5%. – Janina C. Lim