Investigate false labeling of agricultural crops
Robert Domoguen, a former columnist of the Mountain Province Exponent and an official of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region, once wrote an article on falsely labeled Sagada oranges being sold at the public market in Baguio City. I later encountered similar stories of lowland beans brought to Baguio but tagged as “Baguio beans,” robusta coffee beans tagged as “Benguet arabica,” and ordinary rice mixed with glutinous rice tagged as “heirloom rice.” Baguio beans, Benguet arabica coffee and heirloom rice are among the high-value crops produced in the Cordillera without being fertilized by inorganic fertilizers or sprayed with petroleum-based fungicide, insecticide or pesticide; hence, they are tagged as “organic crops.” Organic crops are sold in the market with higher prices compared to the usual commercial crops we usually buy in the market.
If the falsely labeled Sagada oranges (Michael L. Tan, 1/11/19 and 1/23/19 ) are a pair of shoes or “maong” denims, the seller could be apprehended for violating the trademark law. And so comes the question: Which government agency monitors the false labeling of agricultural crops sold in the market?
I believe false labeling of high-value crops violates the rights of consumers and the rights of high-value crops farmers, whose livelihood is being endangered.
We should thank Dr. Tan for his columns on falsely labeled Sagada oranges; his columns should encourage a full-blown investigation into a trade practice full of worms.
CLARO Q. ESOEN, research coordinator, Baguio City
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