ORGANIC farmers in Bukidnon will supply 16 tons of vegetables to Metro Manila Organic Vegetable buyers in June this year, said Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol Monday, April 26.
According to MinDa, the agreement was made during a meeting with Renato "Atong" dela Cruz, the director of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB); his wife representing the buyers; a representative from a Taiwanese seed company; and the farmers led by Talaandig tribal leader and young farmer Ryan Danio.
Piñol said the participants of the meeting agreed that Metro Manila Organic Vegetable buyers, which is represented by Dela Cruz, will buy assorted vegetables, with an initial order of 16 tons per week.
The agreed prices are higher than the prevailing buying price, he added.
It was also agreed that the vegetable will be packed at the farm gate and picked up by a reefer van. It will then be towed by a tractor head to the Cagayan de Oro port for an overnight boat ride to Luzon.
"Atong's group will supply the organic inputs needed by the farmers, including seeds of vegetables specified by the buyers, the cost of which will be deducted after harvest" Piñol said.
The MinDa secretary added that the farmers' group agreed to farm out the needed volume to as many farmers as possible. They will also schedule the planting and harvesting of the vegetables to be able to sustain the supply requirements.
"The farmers agreed to apply for Organic Vegetable Accreditation with an acknowledged accreditation body, the Control Union, and abide by all protocols set for organic vegetable farming," he added.
MinDa, for its part, will assist the farmers' group in accessing an initial revolving production fund of around P2 million from either the government financing institutions or credit cooperatives.
"Atong dela Cruz said additional volume may be needed before the end of the year. For MinDA, yesterday's meeting was the highlight of a year-long effort started last year with the staging of the Mindanao Vegetable Derby which transferred technology to the farmers and introduced modern farming methods and outstanding seeds," Piñol said.