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The decision to import garlic came on the heels of the convening of a National Garlic Action Team (NGAT) to determine the reasons for the price spikes and come up with solutions.

Earlier, the DA said the NGAT is set to issue more than 900 import permits last week, with each permit allowing the importation of 50 MT tons of garlic.

The DA said total garlic importation will satisfy 50 percent of the 90,000 MT domestic demand annually, noting the country produces 11,000 MT of garlic each year.

Alcala said the government will make garlic more affordable, and urged consumers to patronize the locally grown variety, saying it was a “blessing in disguise” that the sudden surge in garlic prices early this month served as a wake-up call. Unscrupulous traders have been trying to manipulate prices when local garlic production has just been revived, he said.

“We expect the price of garlic to continue to stabilize next month,” Alcala noted, adding that while the government will still allow importation of garlic, the “DA would strictly enforce measures that will ensure that it will not be abused to protect the resurgence of the local variety, which found a niche in production, particularly in the north.”

Written by Aladdin S. Diega

Published in Business Mirror on June 25, 2014