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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Cassava farmers linked to businesses

TO WIDEN the market reach of the local cassava farmers of Davao City, the City Agriculture’s Office (CAO) is partnering with a cassava cake shop and popular fast food restaurants.

The agribusiness department of CAO was established with one of the purposes of creating a good trading rapport between local farmers and businesses in the city.

In one of the CAO agribusiness officers’ meetings with local farmers, they have observed a current down trend in the cassava prices. Because of this, the department sought ways to help with this dilemma. The current market price of cassava is P5 per kilo which the local farmers are complaining about because of the very low price.

“To help the farmers, we decided to approach this cassava cake shop with several branches in the city. That’s when we learned that they are expanding and would need a constant two and a half pounds of cassava per year. That is equal to about 2 hectares of cassava. And they are also willing to buy it for P10 per kilo,” said CAO officer-in-charge Leo Brian Leuterio.

Right after Araw ng Dabaw, he said they have talked with a number of cassava farmers in Davao City specifically from Calinan, Tugbok, and Marilog. The farmers are scheduled to meet with the management of the cassava cake shop within the month with CAO’s assistance.

“Of course, the management of the shop would need good quality cassava but cassavas have very thick peeling. This helps support and safeguard the cassava itself,” said Leuterio.

Within the month as well, CAO plans to meet with the management of two of the known fast food chain with branches in the city.

“We learned that they would need about 40 bundles of kangkong every day. This is on top of their other needs such as the tomato and the lettuce. We both have small urban farmers and upland farmers that can contribute to this demand,” he said.

Although the fast food restaurants have a hundred of branches nationwide, Leuterio said their sourcing out of raw agricultural materials would start locally from small farmers and to be used by the branches here in Davao City only. He added this is part of the national program of the companies to be of help to the small, local farmers.

“We’re not very surprised (that they are willing to partner with the local farmers). I think they have wanted to do it in the first place. Perhaps it is on the government’s side that may be lacking and so we are establishing this agribusiness department in our office to cater to the demands of the restaurants and establishments in the city and to also sustain the market for our farmers,” Leuterio said.

He is hopeful that this business to farmer matching of CAO will be sustained and will start to be a trend as well. (JPA)
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