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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
BAGUIO

Diversification to address vegetable oversupply

BENGUET. A vegetable vendor shows off his newly harvested crops, packed and sold at the La Trinidad strawberry farm. (Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes)

FOR Benguet towns, diversified farming and more farm to market roads are needed to address excessive supply of highland vegetables.

Jeffrey Sotero, municipal agriculturist of Tublay, stated amid the oversupply of highland vegetables, diversified commodities have exempted the town from such occurrence.

During the first week of 2019, farmers were greeted with low prices of vegetables due to oversupply of vegetables, compelling farmers to dump loads of carrots instead of delivering it to the La Trinidad Trading Post and Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center.

“Because of the diversified products of Tublay - leafy vegetables, fruit vegetables, and other commodities - we didn’t feel much the oversupply that hit Benguet. I talked with traders, suppliers in trading post, we were never affected,” he said.

Sotero added the town wants to enhance the diversification of its produce instead of focusing on vegetables.

He added in high elevation area, coffee, vegetables and livestock will be planted while for mid elevation, it will be more on vegetables and little coffee, and livestock while for low elevation, fruit trees and rice will be planted with cut flowers typically grown in mid and high elevation areas.

At present, coffee production continues in the municipality with a total of 22 tons annual average estimate mostly of arabica and robusta.

The agriculture officer shared the town has also a special marketing project with a private farm in Angeles, Pampanga together with the town of Kabayan.

Tublay will supply potatoes, cucumber among others while Kabayan is tasked to grow wombok, carrots and cauliflower.

A total of 7,200 farmers are engaged in vegetable and cut flower growing with 20 percent of farmers into organic farming.

The municipality has fully shifted to organic farming since 2008.

In a nearby Buguias town, Mayor Ruben Tinda-an said over production has long been happening in the provice.

“Farmers gamble to bring their produce at the trading areas however, some opted to return home and dumped its produce because of the low prices. Computing all the farmers expense from transportation, manpower, labor and gas among others, is already a loss to the farmer,” he added.

Tinda-an emphasized farm to market roads should be given much attention instead of destroying good main roads.

“If there are good farm to market roads, then delivery and the quality of the vegetables would be maintained,” said the mayor.

Tinda-an and Department of Agriculture Cordillera regional director Cameron Odsey also manifested institutionalization of crop zoning, programming and diversified cropping for highland vegetables to address market gluts has been sought, however, difficulties has been encountered due to the uncontrolled farmers preference.

To avoid the same crops flooding the market, the DA is looking into working with local government units and set up a surveillance system of every town that will identify the crops they plant.


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