Agricultural smuggling

Old Jan 16th 2023, 1:41 pm
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Default Agricultural smuggling

I think the President is going to declare a victory if his decision to import more onions brings the price down to P500 per kg. In a local supermarket here I saw minute organic onions at P750 last week. We're only buying onion powder.
As you can see a draconian anti smuggling law was enacted in 2016 by Benigno Aquino and was seen as the answer to smuggling then:

https://www.portcalls.com/antiagricu...s-effect-june/

Now the President describes the level of smuggling here as "rampant" and his answer is "bureaucratic reforms":

https://www.msn.com/en-ph/money/econ...co/ar-AA16kzqL

But the job sharing Secretary of Agriculture does not talk about the high cost of agricultural inputs, the loss of agricultural land, the difficulties farmers have getting a decent price for their crops, getting them to market etc as reasons why smuggling is "rampant". He doesn't want to as he's probably realised any policy changes needed would take years to make a difference. If he had appointed a full time DA Secretary maybe a start on those could be made. But he prefers to stay there part time and enact some repeats of past policies which won't make much difference to domestic supply, even if they are successful.


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Old Jan 16th 2023, 8:18 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Well said Raffin. I think you are quite correct. Onion powder sales are increasing every day as buying a few dried up shrivelled onions at triple last years price just doesnt work.
Im sure theres a few of the 30 million voters who maybe thinking " is this what we voted for "... then again they maybe said the same 6 months after the election of the previous Pres.
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Old Jan 16th 2023, 9:12 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

This morning Marikina Market had small red onions at 350/Kg two days ago they were 600/Kg
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Old Jan 17th 2023, 12:28 am
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

you could get a BB box of 60kg over from the UK to here for less than 350pesos all in. i do not buy into the reasons given for the high price all these reason have been around for years and the prices never soared as they are now.

How may countries rely on ''traders'' to buy long and sell short whilst ensuring limited supply to the market. My understanding is that there is free trade within Asean , so why smuggle at all? Now its eggs then it will be back to garlic once again etc rinse repeat
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Old Jan 17th 2023, 1:28 am
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Since marcos took power and took over as Agricultural dept boss 7 months ago there have been 7 shortages/price hikes. I can only assume that a family member has warehousing/whole sale business that is getting a tip off and hoarding just to cash in on the huge subsequent price hikes. In the previous 15 years that I have been here I can only remember a rice shortage in 2013 but I have no idea if that was linked to Yolanda.

Seems like smuggling onions is now more lucrative than drugs.
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Old Jan 17th 2023, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by Stokkevn
Since marcos took power and took over as Agricultural dept boss 7 months ago there have been 7 shortages/price hikes. I can only assume that a family member has warehousing/whole sale business that is getting a tip off and hoarding just to cash in on the huge subsequent price hikes. In the previous 15 years that I have been here I can only remember a rice shortage in 2013 but I have no idea if that was linked to Yolanda.

Seems like smuggling onions is now more lucrative than drugs.
With only one harvest season a year in the drier months there is often a shortfall of onions. Farmers can gamble on planting at other times. But can be caught out by late weather events. So the government should allow imports, which they seemed to do too late. Price hikes inherent in other crops too. Rice also had another one in 2018. Like onions the government through the NFA allows more imports. We have this in a law thanks to the last President. Again they can get the timing wrong. For producers as well as consumers as then prices for farmers can fall.
Yes, speculation can make people in the know money. The nature of society here probably makes this more common here. However economists studying price speculation in general do not agree it makes prices rise more.
But here we have the government playing the major role with many agricultural commodities through its regulation of imports. My point was that instead of focusing on smugglers and speculators the DA has to make some radical changes with agriculture here to increase domestic production, get prices down, and reduce imports on many commodities to times only when extraordinarily bad weather calamities occur. Reducing government intervention on imports. First step BBM to leave the DA.










Last edited by Raffin; Jan 17th 2023 at 12:06 pm.
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Old Jan 23rd 2023, 2:07 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

https://news.abs-cbn.com/spotlight/0...iculture-chief

BBM wants to stay there only to "restructure the bureaucracy". This made me laugh. Surely he can do that wherever he is as he is the Chief Executive? I thought he was there to implement the great ideas he had from his father's time.. But perhaps now he sees they can't do much to sort out the mess of DA market intervention.
After he goes he says will appoint an "expert". You would think they are already there. But they maybe don't like his ideas. So he will look for someone who does. He said previously he doesn't want another military man. No collectivization here! In the UK the present and previous Ministers of Food had some agricultural background, but are not in any way "experts".That's all you need here, not an expert. I don't think he will ever get a real expert who will want to do that job.
Would think the equivalent Sir Humphrey Appleby of the DA here (as from the BBCs Yes Minister) is having a hard time!

Last edited by Raffin; Jan 23rd 2023 at 3:31 pm.
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Old Jan 25th 2023, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by mikemike
you could get a BB box of 60kg over from the UK to here for less than 350pesos all in. i do not buy into the reasons given for the high price all these reason have been around for years and the prices never soared as they are now.

How may countries rely on ''traders'' to buy long and sell short whilst ensuring limited supply to the market. My understanding is that there is free trade within Asean , so why smuggle at all? Now its eggs then it will be back to garlic once again etc rinse repeat
looks like the onion has gone international
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...in-philippines

looks like senator G poe has disclosed that there is no direct farm to market. they have to go via traders. The solution is 'political will' to change the law so the big malls can send large artic refrigerator trucks direct to farm collective and back to base. the roads do exist..how do you think traders move the produce from source

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Old Jan 25th 2023, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by mikemike
looks like the onion has gone international
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...in-philippines

looks like senator G poe has disclosed that there is no direct farm to market. they have to go via traders. The solution is 'political will' to change the law so the big malls can send large artic refrigerator trucks direct to farm collective and back to base. the roads do exist..how do you think traders move the produce from source
Looked up lists of the top challenges facing Philippine agriculture. One of 12 and another of 8 didn't include that. But they both put the fact that the great majority of farms are small. They both see that as something that inevitably leads to most farmers being in a weak position, poor and desperate to get whatever cash they are offered by middlemen.
An agri businessman Manny Pinol was DA Secretary in the Duterte govt up to 2019 when he left his Party to join another. He then resigned as DA. He had started a program on this, put in P100M. But who knows if the DA is able to do much these days as it is continually fighting price rises by organising the right amount of imports in so many commodities. Under a very part time Secretary who has his own ideas.
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Old Jan 25th 2023, 6:14 pm
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Yes he has his own ideas like the’Sovereign Fund’
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Old Jan 26th 2023, 4:29 am
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by Raffin
Looked up lists of the top challenges facing Philippine agriculture. One of 12 and another of 8 didn't include that. But they both put the fact that the great majority of farms are small. They both see that as something that inevitably leads to most farmers being in a weak position, poor and desperate to get whatever cash they are offered by middlemen.
An agri businessman Manny Pinol was DA Secretary in the Duterte govt up to 2019 when he left his Party to join another. He then resigned as DA. He had started a program on this, put in P100M. But who knows if the DA is able to do much these days as it is continually fighting price rises by organising the right amount of imports in so many commodities. Under a very part time Secretary who has his own ideas.
there is nothing new to that list of challenges yet the prices are out of all proportion to those challenges. I have seen vast improvements to to infrastructure over the last 20 years. I think Grace poe has hit the nail on the head. The single most important challenge is to remove the compulsory use of traders. allow the big malls to go direct to the farms who pool harvests for collection, so farm size is mitigated. the discovery of product in warehouses and hidden under clothing by the thousands of tons tells us there is no problem in getting product from the fams to the market. Traders are hoarding and hiding, stop them and the problem is stopped. the use of traders harks back to the days when getting product from farm to market was much harder then than now, political will to change the process will be a big improvement . A year ago it was about 120p a kilo . there is no excuse or justification for what is being charged now . distribution challenges have not increased , they have decreased as infrastucture continues to improve. Close off the traders and the problem is solved back to 120pesos a kilo
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Old Jan 26th 2023, 9:56 am
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by mikemike
there is nothing new to that list of challenges yet the prices are out of all proportion to those challenges. I have seen vast improvements to to infrastructure over the last 20 years. I think Grace poe has hit the nail on the head. The single most important challenge is to remove the compulsory use of traders. allow the big malls to go direct to the farms who pool harvests for collection, so farm size is mitigated. the discovery of product in warehouses and hidden under clothing by the thousands of tons tells us there is no problem in getting product from the fams to the market. Traders are hoarding and hiding, stop them and the problem is stopped. the use of traders harks back to the days when getting product from farm to market was much harder then than now, political will to change the process will be a big improvement . A year ago it was about 120p a kilo . there is no excuse or justification for what is being charged now . distribution challenges have not increased , they have decreased as infrastucture continues to improve. Close off the traders and the problem is solved back to 120pesos a kilo
Compulsory use of traders by small farmers? Is there a law here about that? I looked and found this article on tobacco , where they have a choice:

https://www.agriculture.com.ph/2018/...20on%20imports.

The SMs etc here would have to be forced or paid to go to the trouble of dealing with all the small farmers. Another job for the already over burdened civil servants at the DA .If it was ever done there wouldn't be much improvement. The farmers in the UK are for ever complaining about the prices they get from the big retailers.
So unless you have a Russian style forced collectivization I think we're stuck here on that issue and have to concentrate on the many others.
The traders hoarding is due to the DA trying to control prices through imports. Of course they are no good at it. An age old problem if you remember learning about the British Corn Laws at school. In the end they were repealed as cheap food was thought to be better. We had a comparative advantage in manufacturing at the time. But that's not the case.here and if imports were freely let in for rice the NPA would grow again. In the mid 1800s few thought that one day Britain would be facing starvation when ships carrying grain were being sunk. The Philippines could easily be blockaded too, so another argument to keep agriculture here going.
I remember in Britain you could buy onion seed sets to grow your own. I wonder if they are import restricted here and easily available? People could then add onions to the pechay in their small gardens.

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Old Jan 26th 2023, 4:14 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by Raffin
Compulsory use of traders by small farmers? Is there a law here about that? I looked and found this article on tobacco , where they have a choice:

https://www.agriculture.com.ph/2018/...20on%20imports.

The SMs etc here would have to be forced or paid to go to the trouble of dealing with all the small farmers. Another job for the already over burdened civil servants at the DA .If it was ever done there wouldn't be much improvement. The farmers in the UK are for ever complaining about the prices they get from the big retailers.
So unless you have a Russian style forced collectivization I think we're stuck here on that issue and have to concentrate on the many others.
The traders hoarding is due to the DA trying to control prices through imports. Of course they are no good at it. An age old problem if you remember learning about the British Corn Laws at school. In the end they were repealed as cheap food was thought to be better. We had a comparative advantage in manufacturing at the time. But that's not the case.here and if imports were freely let in for rice the NPA would grow again. In the mid 1800s few thought that one day Britain would be facing starvation when ships carrying grain were being sunk. The Philippines could easily be blockaded too, so another argument to keep agriculture here going.
I remember in Britain you could buy onion seed sets to grow your own. I wonder if they are import restricted here and easily available? People could then add onions to the pechay in their small gardens.
Yes it would appear that there is a law and they do not eat tobacco. Congress committee have asked for retailers to be authorised to go to farm for collection and delivery. No need to be authorised if they can do it anyway. who do you think has been hoarding the onions as now being exposed on an almost daily basis. the president is going to convene a meeting with traders, farmers and now retailers.. why bother with traders if they are not a recognised body.

This will be down to political will, will he won't he
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Old Jan 26th 2023, 6:01 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by mikemike
Yes it would appear that there is a law and they do not eat tobacco. Congress committee have asked for retailers to be authorised to go to farm for collection and delivery. No need to be authorised if they can do it anyway. who do you think has been hoarding the onions as now being exposed on an almost daily basis. the president is going to convene a meeting with traders, farmers and now retailers.. why bother with traders if they are not a recognised body.

This will be down to political will, will he won't he
You can't tell me what law you're talking about. I've looked around and cannot find any mention of one. If there is one it must only be for some crops and not others eg tobacco, which doesn't seem logical. Just because some committee chairman used the word "authorised" doesn't mean there is a law. You must know Filipinos often don't get the different English meanings correct. He probably should have used a word like "encouraged". Because for good or bad,it seems the practice of most small scale farmers is to deal with traders..Anyway, why didn't the committee call for the law to be repealed, if there is one?

Measures to break the practice of dealing with middle men, like helping the setting up of co-operatives etc yes, that could increase contract farming in the long run.

Well good the DA Secretary is convening a meeting but don't hold your breath. That's what all politicians do when they're on trouble. Just watch Jim Hacker on Yes Minister. BBMs solutions so far are to restructure the DA bureaucracy, set up refrigerated stores, buffer stocks, increase yields. Mostly long term solutions. No political get out as the onion price is set by the market. One player is the government. Who messed up last year. A high price and unstable supply encourages speculation. The government has to get its import intervention right, otherwise suicidal onion farmers will be more in the news over the coming months as prices fall too far.

He would like some great announcement like the Maharlika Fund I am sure, but I think all we might hear new on Monday will be some anti hoarding rhetoric, maybe even some threats. They would be a good target politically for him. By the way there is an anti hoarding law with fines and jail terms on the books here but I read that so far no one has even be prosecuted. Probably because it is difficult to prove. Let's see if BBM refers to it



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Old Jan 26th 2023, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Agricultural smuggling

Originally Posted by Raffin
He would like some great announcement like the Maharlika Fund I am sure, but I think all we might hear new on Monday will be some anti hoarding rhetoric, maybe even some threats. They would be a good target politically for him. By the way there is an anti hoarding law with fines and jail terms on the books here but I read that so far no one has even be prosecuted. Probably because it is difficult to prove. Let's see if BBM refers to it
There might be anti hoarding rhetoric but nothing will happen, I am sure friends or family have warehousing and are given the nod as to what he will make the next shortage/price hike will be so they have time to buy cheap and wait for the subsequent huge price hike before selling. I am sure seven food shortages in 7 months is no coincident.
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