Issue of March 29, 2020
     
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Benguet
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‘Rolling stores’ offer veggies to help with farmer’s losses
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Producers of carrots and Chinese cabbage, which were earlier brought for trading in La Trinidad, Benguet, took back home with them their goods due to very low prices resulting from the implementation of measures against the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a statement released March 27, Department of Agriculture Cordillera Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey reported based on the monitoring of the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in La Trinidad, the prices of said commodities were abnormally low on March 23 but it normalized on the succeeding days of last week.

On March 23, the wholesale price of Chinese cabbage ranged from P5 to P8 per kilo, which was abnormally low, but eventually normalized to P15 to P20, P15 to 18, and P10 to 15 on the next days.

Prices of carrots ranged from P1 to P8 but increased to P10 to P17, P8 to P30, and P20 to P25.

Odsey said the agency has been assisting small vegetable cooperatives and associations in transporting their produce to buyers in Metro Manila to reduce their transport cost.

In coordination with the Tublay municipal government, 10 tons of vegetables of a farmers’ group from the town were transported to Quezon City using the trucks of DA as per the directive of Sec. William Dar in these trying situations.

Transport of vegetables from other farmer groups in the province to Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita stores organized by DA in Metro Manila are being arranged.

The stores are organized in strategic sites that sell agricultural commodities from the provinces at cheaper prices as middlemen are not involved.

Starting next week, vegetables from Benguet will be included in Kadiwa rolling stores being organized in Baguio City that will sell grocery items and farm products in all city barangays.

This will be done in cooperation with the city government of Baguio and the Department of Trade and Industry.

“It is expected that a large volume of vegetables will be sold this way,” Odsey said.

He added various local government units in Benguet have started procuring vegetables from their constituents, especially for non-vegetable producing municipalities, and encouraged them to sustain this setup.

Issuance of food passes to truckers who transport agricultural produce so that they can pass unhampered in all enhanced community quarantine checkpoints is also continuous. So far, 1,300 passes have been issued since last week, facilitating the transport of 8,180 metric tons of assorted vegetables from Benguet to Metro Manila and other provinces from March 18 to 27.

“This is critical to ensure the smooth passage of food items like vegetables to Manila and other urban centers,” Odsey said.

He added they will continue all efforts possible to minimize the losses incurred by farmers as the situation due to the Covid-19 returns to normal.


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