BENGUET farmers are being asked anew to practice crop programming by the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Cordillera.

For crop programming, specific variety of commodities are assigned to farmers to be grown.

Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing Kristine Evangelista met farmer groups from La Trinidad and big buyer groups and wholesalers from Metro Manila for the adaptation of crop programming and diversification towards the sustainability of supply in the market.

"There are instances where in we have oversupply or shortage is because of the schedule of planting also affected by other factors such as the typhoon and drought. Mahirap magdetermine ng presyo but we have to make sure na hindi sila sabay sabay nagpaplant ng iisang commodity that will cause an oversupply. We will talk to farmers, guide them properly agribusiness division he will guide them on what to plant, ito iyong volume and variety," Evangelista added.

DA is looking into working with the local government units through the municipal agriculturist offices and conduct monthly dialogue with producers in the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) to avoid same crops going into the market.

"We are now moving towards contract growing, volume and variety of vegetable that should be planted with a ready market, it will work for farmers, consumers, retailers," she said.

Having enjoyed good weather with no major typhoon that hit the province in 2019, farmers who planted the same commodity last year and harvested the same output had led to oversupply added Arnel Caparos, farmer manager of Mountain Booms Farm in Benguet.

Prices of highland vegetables at BAPTC recorded a low of P4.00 to P11 a kilo for cabbage, P4.00 to P10 for cauliflower, wombok at P5.00 to P9.00, chayote from P1.00 to P7.00, celery P8.00 to P15 and parsley at P10 to P15.

BAPTC chief of operations Violeta Salda disclosed institutional markets such as hotels and restaurants have stringent requirements of commodities to have uniform sizes, shape, variety.

Salda added they have also reached out to the agriculture department for a wholesale market to be made available for the farmers.

She stated further that improvements of the facilities is needed such as functional cold storage and equipment to load vegetables.

To date, the multi-million facility has been sustainable with an increase in traded vegetables since it was launched.

At least 600 farmers are trading at BAPTC bringing in a minimum of 2500 kilograms of vegetable per farmer.