MANILA, Philippines — A number of agricultural groups are planning to boycott the upcoming food security summit to be conducted by the Department of Agriculture (DA) on May 18 and 19.
The groups said their concerns and recommendations have been repeatedly ignored that is why they decided not to attend the summit.
Among the policies they are opposed to is the importation of rice, chicken and more importantly pork with lower tariff.
“Ipipilit (lang) iyong ideology ng import liberalization. So bakit kami pupunta?” stressed United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) president Atty. Bong Inciong.
The Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) also noted that their recommendation to have first border protection for testing of imported agricultural food products has yet to be established.
This, they say, is one way to prevent the entry of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the country.
“Kaya bakit natin ibo-boycott itong food summit? Dahil nakikita natin eh walang direksyon para sa ating local producers,” noted Rosendo So, president of SINAG.
Hog raisers are also complaining about the unpaid indemnification of hogs affected by the ASF.
The group warned that this could result in another holiday.
“Ipinakikita natin sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon na tayo ay sawang-sawa na at malapit nang dumating sa tingin ko yung food holiday,” argued Nicanor Briones of ProPork.
Amid these complaints, Agriculture Secretary William Dar is encouraging them to participate in the summit so that they can properly air their side.
Dar noted the importance of everyone’s participation especially in a time of pandemic.
“There is now consciousness on the part of every Filipino na ang sektor ng agrikultura ay ganoon kahalaga during this time of health pandemic,” he said.
The Food Security Summit aims to construct policies that will help the country attain food sufficiency. (With reports from Rey Pelayo)