Tuesday, July 28, 2009


An exhaustive report on the activities of cartels was sent to me recently. The paper bares experiments from experts from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who had studied the problems of farming in the country, blaming the cartels as a "social malaise" which had impoverished the nation. It seems that the cartels' powerful network from within and outside has bound our helpless farmers into the quagmire of perpetual poverty and hopelessness. It's high time the government embark on a real crackdown on cartels which operate in all levels of Philippine society. I would have been overjoyed to hear President Arroyo declare war on these existing cartels in her SONA yesterday. But in doing so would only mean turning her back on her friends and business associates.

This is how cartels work, suffocating the farmers: The inaccessiblity of government and banking credit facilities to these sectors is where the cartels thrive. They take advantage through the scheme of "offer of a helping hand." They take advantage through the delivery of "the inaccessible credit" to the farmers, the marginal traders, millers and retailers. Credit is given the farmers but their harvests are already mortgaged to the cartel even before planting. Thus, they control the price not only of rice, but also in their grip is the supply of yellow corn, vegetables, coffee, cutflower, mongo, copra, fish and literally whatever crop is harvested by the small farmers and fishermen. Cartels control the delivery of credit to the small farmers and fishermen in the countryside, and in exchange, they virtually dictate the prices of prime commodities. Yes, the vicious tentacles of cartels are there, pervasive as sharks in the sea.

It's time these sharks are cut down to the size of fingerlings.

(Image from http://bulatlat.com/)

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