Issue of September 20, 2020
     
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La Trinidad mulls support program for veggie farmers
by Ofelia C. Empian

The municipal council of La Trinidad, Benguet is currently discussing a proposed ordinance that seeks to institute a support program to help farmers trade their vegetable and cutflower produce during pandemic.

“It has been observed that the Covid - 19 pandemic has brought about instances where oversupply of vegetables occurred in the trading centers of the municipality causing losses to the farmers who either opt to sell their produce at a very low price, or end up throwing their products away,” the proposed ordinance reads.

Councilor Nestor Fongwan Jr., one of the authors of the ordinance along with Councilors Renato Tereng and Guiller Galwan, said the ordinance shall be activated once an epidemic or pandemic occurs.

Fongwan said once an oversupply or non-demand of the products occurs, it shall be the office of the municipal agriculture that will be in charge of the implementation of the program.

Farmers shall then bring their produce to the designated storage and staging areas where the OMAG personnel shall inspect the produce and determine those that will be bought and it shall process the voucher for payment. The OMAG shall look for the designated storage and staging area and will manage the area.

The municipality shall pay 60 percent of the production cost per kilo for vegetables but will not exceed the amount of P20,000.

As for cut flowers, the municipality shall pay 50 percent of the cost of production at maturity per dozen but not exceeding P20,000.

“Farmers will benefit from the program only once every epidemic and pandemic,” the ordinance stated.  

The OMAG shall also cause the free distribution of the vegetables and cut flowers to those in need and shall also link the farmers to possible markets and linkages. The program shall continue until the appropriated funds are used up.

Fongwan said they proposed a P1.5 million budget for the program in which P1 million shall benefit vegetable farmers and the P500,000 shall the benefit cutflower farmers.

Majority of the 16 barangays of the municipality are devoted to agriculture. The ordinance is now on third reading.


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