Thursday, June 18, 2015

Onion Wars

two articles on crooked traders, possible bribes to the gov't to import more onions legally, and hints that a lot of onions are smuggled in.
this makes the middle man rich, leads to wasted food (which rots in warehouses) and the farmers here going broke.

LINK from Interaksyon

Onion growers accused the government agencies - DA and Bureau of Customs - as apparently conniving to discourage the farmers’ enterprising efforts.
“Where do we turn to?” they cried.
Gamilla and the DA have bared documents showing that one of the cooperatives sold 29 of its yellow onion import permits to a businessman importer for P8.9 million.
He also showed photocopies of two checks worth P7.1 million as payment for the import permits sold by the cooperative to the businessman.
The mayor, who claims to be a big onion producer himself, said he is a also victim of the price decline.
Gamilla said he could not do anything, claiming that he himself has approached the agriculture and customs offices and complained.
But apparently nothing was done about his complaints, he added.
Gamilla urged the DA to conduct an investigation on the transactions surrounding the over-importation of onions to put a stop to the anomalous transactions that tend to dampen local initiatives.

and it will get worse with free trade agreements.

LINK2 from GMA

"SINAG officials and Nueva Ecija farmers blamed the cartel of onion traders and importers for 'over-stocking' imported onions, thus forcing the price of locally-produced onions to sink at 'ridiculously low levels,' with still very few takers," the group said in a statement Sunday....
 According to So, agents of onion traders were "reportedly apprehensive" about purchasing onions from local farmers as most traders' warehouses in Manila and nearby provinces were "full of imported and smuggled onions."

and the GMA article says it's not just onions:

Charges had been filed against officials of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the Department of Agriculture, members of the National Garlic Action Team, and supposed dummies of importer Lilia Cruz, alias Leah Cruz, who reportedly cornered at least 75 percent of the total garlic imports in the country by virtue of BPI import permits. “The difference of onion price from farm gate to retail of P25-30 per kilo is a glaring example of price manipulation by a cartel of traders and importers who have total control of onion supply," 

So a lot of small farmers and mid level farmers will go bankrupt... this is the type of shenanigans that the Pope is talking about when he condemns "capitalism".

Of course, as I mentioned, the alternative is to tell the rich elites not to bribe or take bribes, but "Thou Shalt Not Steal" is too simple for people to understand.

so why are Chinese (and to a lesser  extent Indian and European) onions so cheap? Lower labor cost, cooler climates where pests are not as aggressive, the use of pesticides and herbicides. plus a gov't that encourages exports

And by China's keeping their currency artificially low, it keeps the price down for their exports, adversely impacting other more honest (?!) countries.

Local activists, by opposing such chemicals, will use the Pope's encyclical to increase their influence, leading to a greener Philippines where farmers go broke trying to compete with countries that aren't as green (and often lying about it) and crooks who make a profit manipulating prices and mislabeling products.

no, we don't grow onions: We grow organic rice, and face problems with growers who claim to be organic but are not, or imports improperly labeled as organic. Since we usually sell to small suppliers or upscale supermarkets, who keep an eye on fraudulent labelling, we are able to make a profit but in the wild west of the Palenkes, mislabeled food and counterfeit and often shoddy products are rampant.

Again, the answer is not a NWO of the elites (which would only allow the thieves to police themselves) but preaching Thou Shalt not steal, but never mind.

note 2: Right now we are still waiting for the monsoon rains to start, so we haven't planted yet. To prepare the fields, we have had to irrigate (using diesel for pumps) which increases expenses. So will food prices go up next year?

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