TO curb the illegal entry of agricultural products in the country, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar suggested a two-pronged approach on the issue, while assuring the public of zero tolerance of any form of corruption.
“First, let us continue to intensify our border protection and coordination efforts with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other agencies. If there is misdeclaration, right there and then, the goods should be held immediately,” Dar said in a meeting with “OneDA” key officials addressing agricultural smuggling.
“Second, we need to continuously provide our farmers with the much-needed logistics and infrastructure support so they could produce more and sell their products with reasonable profit, especially during peak season when prices are low. With such DA support and assistance, hindi rin sila mapagsasamantalahan ng mga trader,” the DA chief added.
“Our unified efforts must not be negated by smuggling. Let it be clear that our goal is to help our farmers and fisherfolk boost their productivity, income, and livelihood,” he said.
He also issued a stern warning to erring DA officials and staff, saying that they will be slapped with appropriate administrative cases and suspension if found guilty of conniving with illegal importers and smugglers, in general.