Fisherfolk call for boycott of imported galunggong
The fisherfolk group Pamalakaya (Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas) launched in October 16 its campaign to boycott imported round scad (galunggong) currently flooding local markets. They urged market retailers and consumers to patronize local galunggong which are fresh and safe compared to imports. The group said that galunggong imports are of poor quality and easily spoil.
The campaign is in response to the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) approval of the entry of at least 60,000 metric tons of galunggong imports for the local market in October supposedly to bring down prices. The National Economic Development Authority recommended the importation of up to 200,000 metric tons of galunggong for the last quarter of the current year until the first quarter of 2022.
According to the fisherfolk sector, prices of locally-sourced galunggong are high because big fish traders control prices in local markets. Local fish haul usually go through at least 4-5 traders before reaching markets and prices increase at each stage.
Local fisherfolk will suffer more losses if galunggong imports flood the markets as these will pull down the already low galunggong farmgate prices.
“This spells death to the local fishing industry,” thePamalakaya said. “Fish traders will all the more pull down fish prices from small fisherfolk which will condemn them to bigger losses resulting from high costs of production,” the group added. Currently, farmgate prices of local galunggong in Palawan are only at ₱60-₱70 per kilo.
Likewise, the consecutive surge in oil prices have swelled the cost of production for fisherfolk. Since the start of the year, gasoline prices have shot up by ₱19.70 per liter, while diesel prices increased by ₱18 per liter. Fisherfolks consume an average of 10-12 liters of diesel while at sea for 6-8 hours.
Pamalakaya added that importation of galunggong does not guarantee stabilization of its market prices. “It is a remote possibility that market prices will drop because wholesalers will remain in control of their prices,” said the group.
According to the DA’s records last October 19, the market price of local galunggong is at ₱240 per kilo while imported ones are sold at ₱220 per kilo.
As part its campaign, Pamalakaya distributed leaflets containing information on how to identify differences between local and imported galunggong. The group said it will also visit marketplaces to conduct an information drive among consumers and vendors. The information campaign will also cover urban poor communities and smallscale fisherfolks.
The group said that they will likewise intensify their demand for the government to provide subsidy for production and aid in order to boost the local fishing industry and end the dependence on importation. Galunggong production in 2020 stood at 202,660 metric tons, falling by 4.85% from 2016 figures at 213,000 metric tons.