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Jul 3, 2020 @ 11:46

Bittersweet relationship? Sugar group subtly tells Dar importation is bad for agri sector

It has always been a bittersweet relationship between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the sugar industry.

For instance, Agriculture Secretary William Dar didn’t say he will halt the importation of agriculture products, but Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota y Pontevedra, Inc. (AALCPI) released a statement that they will stand with Dar “in gratitude for calling a halt to importation of agriculture goods”.

If this isn’t a subtle shade then we don’t know what is.

In a statement, AALCPI lauded Dar and said its members will stand with him in the department’s thrust to further strengthen our country’s food security

AALCPI President Roberto Cuenca, in particular, said that Dar’s move to stop importation will “ensure the livelihood of millions of farmers whose lives and families depend on agriculture”.

“We share the same idea that by increasing farm productivity, we ensure food security which will lead to self-sufficiency for the agriculture sector of the country,” Cuenca said, adding that by doing so, “we are giving priority to our farmers and producers who are the key to our nation’s food security.”

Cuenca also said that it is the “duty” of Filipino farmers to “feed every Filipino and not rely on other countries for food, especially in this time of pandemic.”

The sugar industry, Cuenca said, stand alongside other agriculture industries like rice, poultry, hog raisers and others.

“Together, we can make a stronger agriculture sector that will not only be able to feed each and every Filipino, but will also be able to feed the world,” Cuenca further said.

Cuenca’s statement would have looked perfectly fine, except that Dar didn’t issue any pronouncement on the halt of importation of agriculture goods.

If anything, Dar has even spent the last months rationalizing the need for it, antagonizing the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) relationship with poultry and pork raisers who have been asking the agency to temporarily suspend importation because of the oversupply in the local production.


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