CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — A tomato farmer in Bukidnon was supposed to earn thousands of pesos from his produce but was forced to dump them after the price went down.
According to reports, Lod Guinayon, a resident of Kinati in Brgy. Alanib, Lantapan town, transported 56 boxes of tomatoes to be sold to the dealers and vendors at the Westbound Public Market in Barangay Bulua, this city, on July 5.
By his estimate, he should have earned P16,800 as each box contains 25 kilos of tomatoes sold at P300 per kilo. But Guinayon failed to sell his produce at the expected price as this was already ripened. He was forced to dump his produce at a roadside in Lantapan the same day.
“His [Guinayon] produce ripened and was offered to be bought at only P100 to P150 per box, which prompted him to backload his produce and be dumped in their area,” said Carlene Collado, executive director of the Department of Agriculture regional office (DA-10).
Collado’s office released a statement Wednesday night, July 6, after photos of the dumped tomatoes became viral on social media. A certain Penong Sebuya Gonzales posted the photos in Facebook which has been shared over 3,000 times.
Based on the investigation conducted by DA-10’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, the buying price for “unripe and of good quality” tomatoes was at P300 per box while the unripe ones are bought at a cheaper price per kilo.
The DA-10 has worked out a marketing agreement with the Lantapan Vegetable Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative to assist farmers with a possible market tie-up through their existing memorandum of agreement with the Agri Global Ventures Inc. The latter offers a better price.
Collado said DA-10 continuously provides logistics support and facilities through its Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita to the local government units, farmer cooperatives, and associations which include the local government of Lantapan. This initiative makes farm produce accessible and affordable to consumers.
“The undersigned is encouraging farmer cooperatives and associations to coordinate with their respective Municipal Agriculture Office and the DA-10 and participate in its program and projects that will capacitate and link them to proper market linkages,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a phone interview Thursday, July 7, Neptali Ambos, Lantapan municipal agriculture officer, said Guinayon was not able to dispose of his produce right away causing it to ripen.
The tomato farmer, he added, could have availed of government intervention like free transport and marketing of products through the DA’s Kadiwa program, if Guinayon was a member of farmers’ association or cooperative.
The Kadiwa program serves as a direct marketing link between farmers and fisherfolk and consumers.
Ambos also said that farmers would also need trading posts and processing centers to ensure that there is no wastage of farm produce like tomatoes. This as he noted that for the April-July planting season, they expect to harvest 50 tons of tomatoes.
He shared they have already requested for the establishment of these facilities from the DA, but are still awaiting approval from the new administration. (davaotoday.com)