March 2, 2024

To aid farmers in their plight to prevent the glut in vegetable production particularly cabbage, the Department of Science and Technology-Cordillera and Benguet State University teamed up to study other products to be derived from the vegetable.

DOST-CAR Director Nancy Bantog said BSU already made the proposal regarding possible solutions and there is an ongoing mapping for the baseline data of the project.

Bantog said this is an offshoot of the earlier call conference with DOST Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr. to discuss interventions using science and technology to help farmers.

“May nakaabang na siyang pondo for that assessment level, for us to know how much we could invest in food, fertilizer, and feed. But we need to establish kung saan tayo sa value chain muna,” Bantog said.

She said in their initial discussion, tons of cabbage are being produced that is why food processing is not the only solution concerned offices are projecting.

In the proposal, green manuring is also discussed or processing the raw cabbage into fertilizers and turning it into feeds specifically for native pig and chicken.

For cabbage as a fertilizer, the vegetable is not nitrogen-rich that’s why they may need to add other nitrogen-rich plants in the region to develop it.

The project will be funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

Bantog said the project is being fast-tracked by the agency as a means to alleviate the problem of farmers during glut in vegetable production where tons of vegetables are left unsold and seen thrown by the roadside in Benguet.

Farmers in the region are seeking relief from the government to aid them in their plight, saying they are losing revenue not because of oversupply, but due to the rampant smuggling of highland vegetables in the different markets in the country.

The League of Associations at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Areas, Inc. said the presence of smuggled vegetables like carrots and potatoes in Metro Manila markets caused the decline in sales of local farmers.

Based on the league’s data, around seven to eight million kilograms of vegetables were not purchased from Dec. 20 to 30, 2023, causing an estimated loss of P210 million to P240M.

Farmers’ groups have appealed to the national government to revive the anti-smuggling task force as a deterrent to the rampant smuggling activities in the vegetable markets. – Ofelia C. Empian