December 5, 2022

The Department of Agriculture and municipal government of La Trinidad have developed market matching to address the continuing concerns of farmers regarding increasing vegetable wastes in the locality.

Through market matching, farmers will be able to directly sell vegetable produce to certain establishments and consumers, removing middlemen in the process.

Brigette Mangipay of DA Cordillera Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) said the strategy aims to reduce the influence of middlemen, therefore increasing farmer profits.

The DA described market matching as a process where farmer outputs are matched with different market outlets that are sure to purchase their products, increasing the income of farmers and lower prices for buyers.

Mangipay said market matching has long been a project in the Cordillera but was only emphasized during the pandemic where cost of goods and supply and demand is affected.

Among the issues discussed in a recent meeting is the non-compliance to contracts, mode of payment, and high volume of goods sent to national markets.

Farmers claimed some middlemen pay local farmers after a week or worse a month, violating their agreement. Moreover, after goods are delivered to the market, resellers only purchase certain vegetables in small bulks destroying the quality of the remaining stocks due to oversupply.

Mangipay said farmers are also to be blamed when some of them wait for prices to increase before they harvest their crops, reason why while waiting for the price to increase, the quality of their goods decreases.

“‘Di ko alam kung sino ang may kasalanan, kung ang buyer ba or ang farmer. May buyer naman pero dahil sa kahihintay ng farmer sa mataas na presyo ay nasisira ang quality ng kanilang products,” Mangipay said.

Elvis Gapero, who has been in the farming sector for 17 years, said their land owner serves as the middleman who dictates what to cultivate and when to harvest their crops.

“That strategy is possible when the middleman is educated and informed on the crops available and needed on the market,” he said.

He added due to the increase of vegetable production, prices are affected, therefore while waiting for higher prices, their crops are damaged or thrown away.

Sherlyn Eslao, a farmer from Kapangan, Benguet, claimed market matching can help farmers address their issues in the agricultural sector, especially in marketing vegetables, since the strategy will ensure safe marketing while reducing risks, mainly vegetables being thrown away.

DA Usec. Designate for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Y. Evangelista said through market matching, the government will be able to address oversupply on markets as it can help the government identify when there is oversupply in a certain location and the farmers affected. – Vladymir Mabli