Probe garlic price hike — Villar

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar yesterday called on all concerned government agencies to look into reports that prices of locally grown and imported garlic increased up to P180 per kilo and P290 per kilo, respectively.

“We are happy that Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala has ordered an investigation into the price hike,” said Villar.

She cited the urgency to determine the reasons of the wholesalers and retailers of garlic to suddenly jack up their costs in order to properly address this issue.

“We have to ensure the protection of the consuming public. The exorbitant prices being imposed on garlic might also result to an increase in the prices of other food products,” she said.

She also said garlic is one of the major ingredients in Filipino cooking, If the increase is unwarranted, such that there is price manipulation, Villar said “we have to stop this practice of some unscrupulous traders.”

She noted that all those behind the manipulation of garlic prices should be held liable.

“We should not allow this practice. There should be some effective control measures and monitoring system,” added Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture and food.

Villar’s committee has been conducting public hearings around the country among farmers and stakeholders in the garlic industry to ensure that there is enough supply of garlic and that they are being sold at reasonable prices.

Villar said the government has been extending all form of assistance to the garlic industry to boost the income of farmers by giving them bigger share and help them get out of poverty.

Alcala had earlier said he was willing to sit down with wholesalers and retailers to get their side on the movement in the prices of garlic.

He said the agriculture department has set strategies to increase the yield and income of garlic planters.#