Why do governments sign these trade agreements that negatively impact their local producers? This article by Jimmy Laking, in the Phillipine Baguia Midland Courier, underscores the need to strengthen farmers marketing cooperatives to cope with the onslaught of vegetable products from China, that will flood the market, when the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement comes into effect:
Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan underscored last week the need to strengthen the farmers marketing cooperative to cope with the challenges of the free trade that is set to begin on 2015. He said with the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement two years from now, the country will be flooded with vegetable products that can come in without need for tariffs.“Hence, let us be one in the preservation of the vegetable industry by strengthening the marketing cooperative,” Fongwan told participants to the province-wide basic cooperative course conducted at the capitol.The participants represented more than 50 primary cooperatives in Benguet.Fongwan said the biggest threat remains the People’s Republic of China where the cost of production is much lesser than in this region because farmers need not pay taxes.“Our fear is that with the (unlimited) entry of their products, our industry will be threatened because of the excess in production,” he said.He said comparative-wise, the quality of temperate vegetables in Benguet (and in the neighboring provinces) is much better than those coming from China.
“There is a paramount need to operate as farmers’ cooperative by year 2014 to cope with the impending threat,” he said.
He urged organizers to intensify cooperative training to strengthen existing primary cooperatives.