Sad news for garlic eaters PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 July 2014 11:06

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

At the shop of my suki doing my weekly marketing, I tried to inject some humor  when it came to picking out a few heads of garlic. In Bisaya I said “ Can I buy some of this without having to use my credit card?”  I think my attempt at humor was lost on the young woman  attending me but another customer giggled when she heard me.

There was that week when I was floored when I was told that garlic was then selling for P280 per kilo. I am realistic enough to understand that  prices of items go up and down but to go from P80 a kilo to P280 was  staggering. What happened? The media  thereafter  had regular news about the phenomenon but the gist of it was that the price was being manipulated by the big dealers.

Years back I began to buy the slightly more expensive garlic which was imported. The smell was not as  enticing as our locally grown garlic from the Ilocos but the cloves were bigger and made cooking that much easier than when using Ilocos garlic with its tiny cloves.  At that time I remember the price was about P45 a kilo with slight variations depending on the season. The price was slightly more during the Christmas season when more cooking was done for the holidays. I also remember a lot came in through the Barter Trading boats from Malaysia. That must have been some 30 years ago. From P45 a kilo to P80-P90 over 30 years isn’t bad.

One recent news item about garlic  said that the DA was pushing for the planting of  a variety of garlic  to help address the garlic situation. C’mon. Here we are again pushing for something to address a situation that has  already become  a problem.

If 30 years ago we  were already importing garlic why didn’t the government planners implement a program to  plant garlic so that this would not have to be imported. For years Ilocos was already planting garlic and was known throughout the country for this product. Why didn’t we simply look into the variety and plant a better one? It is not a perennial plant but an annual crop after all.

To talk about planting a better variety now that imported garlic costs about 3 times what it used to cost  is missing the point.  We are told that the greatly increased cost is the result of price manipulation and we answer this by saying we need to plant a new variety?  Where is the logic in this?

When we try and follow the line of thinking of some of our decision makers one needs to leap frog over some muddy potholes.  For instance the DA secretary at one time said that it was the goal of the department to target food security.  Then we next hear that the DA is pushing for more land to be planted to rubber trees. Huh? You lost me there.

I suggest that every government department should hire a philosopher good in logic to act as an oversight committee of one and parse department plans and statements.