Farmers suffer losses

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Vegetable farmers in Benguet province were lamenting about losses because of flawed traffic scheme at the trading post.

Groups have reported losses over the peak season, with farmers and disposers left without a choice but to plunge prices to as low as P4 a kilo for prime vegetables picks.

The farmers groups have also reported a 30-percent spoilage in produce due to an almost two-day wait in the vegetable line before they even reach the trading post to dispense their goods.

The long wait, according to the farmers, has resulted in the deterioration of the produce, making first class vegetables only second and third class in terms of freshness.

Loreto Buyaan, of the Benguet Farmers Federation, said the traffic scheme from the Wangal convergence point was so slow, causing heavy traffic for farmers.

The farmers also lamented that there was a high demand for produce banking on delivery of high volume purchases on December 23, supposedly the last day of trading.

Farmers were eyeing to deliver as early as December 22 to beat the Yuletide rush, but because of the traffic scheme, which directs farmers to proceed to Wangal, then to the Farmers Center to pay a P10 parking fee before being allowed to enter the trading post, most of the orders and profit were not met.

Earlier, several farmers filed a petition asking the government to allow them to use the Wangal area as a convergence point for deliveries.

The petition signed by over 30 farmers and groups said, "This December is the chance for farmers to sell vegetables. Many of us harvest a lot on December because this is the peak season for vegetables. Because of this we experience a long ‘pila’ at Swamp [area]."

The farmers asked the local government of La Trinidad to forgo of the Farmers Center staging point and proceed directly to the trading post, if only for the peak season, in order to meet demands. Requests, however, were left unanswered.

Traders who were able to arrive at end markets were forced to plunge their prices if only to sell their produce.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 27, 2013.

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