Investigation into ‘illegal’ garlic imports

An oversupply of garlic on local markets is currently dragging down the producer price.

Investigation into ‘illegal’ garlic imports
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An oversupply of garlic on local markets is currently dragging down the producer price. As a result, both the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and independent agency, Agri Inspec, are looking into whether the value or volume of approximately 50 consignments of imported garlic had been under-declared to avoid import tariffs.

This was according to Corrie Bezuidenhout, chairperson of the South African Garlic Grower’s Association (SAGGA). He said South Africa was a net importer of garlic, with almost 56% of local consumption being imported every year. In 2017, this amounted to about 2 500t of garlic.

“A large problem was an abnormally large consignment of imported garlic of 315t that arrived in September. Local producers also came into the market at this stage and so producer prices plummeted,” he said.

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“There is an import tariff of R3,25/kg on imported garlic (excluding garlic from the EU), as well as an additional anti-dumping tariff of R19,25/kg on garlic [from China] following previous occurrences of garlic dumping,” he said.

According to Bezuidenhout, a SAGGA representative recently met with large national retailers that are the primary importers of garlic.

“The feeling is that [these retailers] are keen to procure local produce if it is of the same quality as imported produce. Retailers say local consumers prefer a bulb of 50mm [in diameter] that is clean and white. If local producer can meet these specifications there is a market for them,” he said.

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Gerhard Uys grew up as a real city lad, but spends his free time hiking and visiting family farms. He learnt the journalism trade as a freelance writer and photographer in the lifestyle industry, but having decided that he will be a cattle farmer by the age of 45 he now indulges his passion for farming by writing about agriculture. He feels Farmer’s Weekly is a platform for both developed and emerging farmers to learn additional farming skills and therefore takes the job of relaying practical information seriously.