MANILA - Senator and Committee on Agriculture and Food chair Cynthia Villar said the National Garlic Action Team (NGAT) should be held responsible for bringing garlic prices up to P320 per kilo.
"Actually, ang dapat sisihin ay yung National Garlic Action. It's either they were making wrong projections, or they were trying to control supply.... I don't know the reason but definitely, there is something wrong with what they have done," she said.
The National Garlic Action Team is composed of traders, garlic farmer cooperatives, and the Bureau of Plant Industries (BPI).
In an interview on ANC's "Headstart" on Thursday, Villar said the findings of the agriculture committee show there has been price manipulation of garlic in the market.
"The findings of the committee, together with the others, is that there is price manipulation. Definitely.
"If you can control the importation, then you have the supply. Then, you can have it in such a way that you can demand a certain price for it."
Locally-produced garlic is P40 per kilo, while imported garlic stands at a total of P17 per kilo.
"We're kind of lucky because it's cheap abroad. The Bureau of Customs said that the landed cost is P11 and the duty is P6 for a total of P17. Ang production cost sa Philippines is P40 per kilo," said Villar.
The senator said that of the 127 million-kilo demand in the country, only 8 percent comes from local producers.
The Ilocos region is currently the biggest producer of garlic in the Philippines.
"The biggest producer of garlic is the Ilocos region, and they're trying out to find a better seedling so that they produce better garlic, cheaper garlic."