Issue of September 1, 2019
     
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Processors affected by tight supply of agricultural crops
by Press release

The food processing industry is concerned about the declining supply of local agricultural products, despite the Philippine government’s various programs and initiatives to help farmers, according to a purchasing executive.

Ferdinand Pio, corporate purchasing manager at KLT Fruits, Inc., in an update on trends and market opportunities in the fruit industry presented at a recent agri-business forum, said statistics show a decreasing supply of local agri produce.

The decline can be attributed to the fall in the number of growers and is a troubling development for the country’s food processing industry as it depends on the farming sector, Pio added.

Citing the situation of KLT Fruits, a company that processes tropical fruit purees, Pio said the unstable and unreliable supply in the Philippines affects their operations and challenges their capability to meet their commitments to their overseas customers.

He said the company is losing farmers who can supply their product requirements because these growers are getting old and retiring and their children do not want to go into farming, which is full of challenges.

Moreover, the company is encountering strong competition from Vietnam, from where it also imports because “Vietnam now has a strong supply of fruits and we can no longer get supply here.”

Pio said KLT Fruits currently needs bulk suppliers of saba (plantain), mango, jackfruit, guava, calamansi, jackfruit, passion fruit, and many more.

To address the local shortage, Pio suggested that farmers learn to market their products. “You don’t just plant without someone to buy your product,” he said.

More importantly, he encouraged them to form cooperatives and associations. “Don’t farm alone.

He said that if farmers form themselves into groups, “magiging mas malakas kayo.”

“Pag mag-isa kang farmer at hindi ka rin marunong mag-market ng produkto mo, maghihintay ka na lang ng trader. Talagang hindi ka mag-su-survive,” he said.

He added that consolidation will provide farmers with advantages.

For instance, it will be easier for food processors to transact with them. Pio said food processing firms sometimes find it hard to deal with farmers individually.

This, he said, is partly due to the farmer’s financial limitations.

“Hindi niya kayang gastusan ang pag-deliver from the farm going to the plant at hindi maramihan.”

If the farmers have a cooperative, “kakausapin naming yung namumuno sa kooperasyon o asosasyon at sila ang mag-de-deliver sa amin at dun kami sa kanya magbabayad.”

He also said setting up a buying station where farmers and buyers can meet and negotiate is also a good idea.


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