With the continuing drop in the prices of highland vegetables particularly for Chinese cabbage (wombok) and cabbage, the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera has exerted more effort in the transport of produce and help farmers sell these to institutional buyers within and outside the region.
DA-CAR Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) Chief Joan D. Bacbac said a total of 18,500 kilograms of cabbage and wombok have been delivered on Jan. 9 to institutional buyers in Manila, Nueva Ecija, Cabanatuan, and Quezon City.
Three thousand kilos are also bound for Quezon City for retailing by the DA-CAR.
All the vegetables were hauled from farms in Buguias, Kibungan, and Mankayan, all in Benguet using Kadiwa trucks.
Another 4,000 kilos of mostly wombok and cabbage are due for delivery to Bulacan today, Jan. 14.
Region 4A, on the other hand, is yet to finalize their orders based on the quality of vegetables available for next week’s delivery.
Bacbac said the DA-CAR only has four Kadiwa trucks which are deployed for the selling and transport of vegetables at wholesale markets.
On Jan. 8, the DA met with agricultural stakeholders from Benguet, Mountain Province, and Ifugao at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in La Trinidad relative to the low buying price of vegetables which resulted to some farmers opting to give away or dispose their products.
Abnormal trading activities after the new year such as the limited number of traders who returned to trade in La Trinidad, Benguet from Jan. 1 to 3, and the absence of buyers at the BAPTC since Jan. 1 were the reasons why there was a longer cue at the staging areas on those days.
“Normal operations were only observed on Jan. 4. However, buyers opted to buy vegetables that have just been delivered, including wombok and cabbage, compared to those that have been in the trucks for two days,” Bacbac said.
The new batches of deliveries are classified “first class”, while those in the trucks for several days are classified “second” or third class”.
According to representatives at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, normal trading activities resumed on Jan. 8 as shown by the cleared trading bases after lunchtime and absence of queues at staging areas in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet prior to entering the trading centers.
Bacbac thanked partner local government units and farmers’ cooperatives and associations for their assistance.
She said the Cacadcadaan Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative in Mankayan, Benguet consistently supports the marketing and logistics initiatives of the DA-CAR.
The LGUs of Atok, Tuba, and Buguias in Benguet and Sagada in Mountain Province have agreed to the request of the agency for the temporary use of their Kadiwa trucks to assist affected farmers.
Sagada’s truck is being used by E-CARE, a non-government organization and a partner of the DA, which offered to transport and sell low-price vegetables in Isabela and Tabuk City, Kalinga. DA provided for the truck’s fuel.
With the ongoing initiatives to assist the farmers in this difficult time, Bacbac is requesting farmers to approach the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist in their localities if they have harvestable crops with low wholesale prices for the LGU to assist them in selling or marketing their produce.
For farmers who have unsold products, Bacbac appealed to the farmers to coordinate with LGUs or the DA-CAR for assistance instead of letting the vegetables rot through dumping.
“Food is not supposed to be wasted,” Bacbac said. – Janice B. Agrifino