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Importing galunggong will harm our fisherfolk

05:02 AM August 28, 2018

As an archipelagic country, we are indisputably rich in aquatic and marine resources. Yet the government is gearing up for the unlimited importation of fish, particularly round scad (galunggong), to address the inflation brought about by alleged supply shortage.

Small fisherfolk under the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas are alarmed by the proposal of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to allow not only traders, but also fisherfolk and fish vendors associations to import.

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This proposal is not only absurd, but also a clear reflection that the agriculture secretary is not in touch with reality. Small fisherfolk are incapable of importing fish; only commercial fishing firms and giant traders will benefit from this import-
dependent scheme.

Piñol will facilitate the profit generation of traders and importers at the expense of the livelihood of Filipino fishers. Flooding the local market with imported fish products will put local food producers at the losing end.

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Opening the floodgates for imported fish will never be the solution to the shortage of supply. The solution is to refrain from the unbridled exportation of our local fresh fish in exchange for frozen imported sea products. Our country has been importing an average of 500,000 metric tons of aquatic and marine products every year, resulting to the depletion not only of our fish supply, but also the fish stocks at sea.

If only our government will support local food producers and break free from the export-oriented mode of production, there would be no need to import agricultural products such as fish for
local consumption.

FERNANDO HICAP, national chair, Pamalakaya-Pilipinas

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