The Department of Agriculture said it may take two to three years before the country can achieve a stable salt supply.
Agriculture Usec. Domingo Panganiban said he has instructed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to determine the expenditure breakdown of the previous P100 million allocation for salt production.
“Alamin kung nasaan ‘yung pera para malaman namin kung paano gagastusin, dahil kinakailangan matulungan yung small fisherfolks natin na nagpapalaki o nagpo-produce ng asin sa buong Pilipinas lalo na sa Oriental at Occidental Mindoro, Central Luzon, Pangasinan, Visayas, at Mindanao,” he said.
Once they secure the data on the allocated fund, Panganiban said the DA will be able to distribute its aid to fisherfolk in the coming months.
“Aabutin ng dalawa hanggang tatlong taon bago ma-stabilize, kung makukuha ‘yung P100M ng BFAR, masisimulan agad natin ngayong second half ng 2022 ang pagdi-distribute ng pera sa mga fisherfolk na nagpo-produce ng asin,” he said.
The BFAR earlier said there is data, although subject to verification, showing the Philippines imports 93 percent of its salt demand.
Panganiban added there is hoarding of sugar.
“Nakita sa im-bestigasyon ng Bureau of Customs, Sugar Regulatory Administration, DA, Department of Trade and Industry, na maraming asukal ang nakaimbak sa Quezon City, San Jose del Monte, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Misamis Oriental,Bukidnon, at ito ay patunay na hino-hoard ang mga asukal na binili ng mga traders,” he added.
Once proven, Panganiban said the DA will confiscate the hoarded supply and make it available to supermarkets and small sellers to sell it at a lower price.
Besides the supply of salt and sugar, the DA is consolidating inventories of white onions nationwide to determine if there’s truly a supply shortage.
White onions have been made available online by some merchants, while consumers find a hard time buying them in the market.
The DA earlier said authorities intercepted nine trucks of white onions in Misamis Oriental, which were supposedly coming from Metro Manila.
Panganiban said the BoC is set to determine whether these are smuggled or hoarded. – PNA