Benguet farmers transport 25 tons of produce for indigent families of Manila

Benguet farmers transport 25 tons of produce for indigent families of Manila
Through various organizations, tons of vegetable produce were transported to Pandacan, Manila despite trucking problems faced by the Department of Agriculture and the local government of Tublay amid the COVID-19 crisis.
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MANILA, Philippines — Twenty-five tons of upland vegetables from Tublay and other Benguet municipalities were donated to indigent families of Manila.

This was made possible through Caritas Manila, which has recently transported them to Pandacan despite trucking problems faced by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Tublay LGU amid the COVID-19 crisis.

More than 5,000 vegetable relief packs from three farmer’s groups composed of more than 190 farmers, were sponsored by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) earmarked for distribution by Caritas Manila as part of efforts to ease the plight of indigent Manila communities.

The shipment was made against a backdrop of plunging vegetable prices in the Benguet vegetable trading posts, as usual traders have found it increasingly difficult to navigate the trucking demands resulting from the enhanced community quarantine along trading routes.

“In this time of emergency, vegetable farmers are facing difficulties in marketing their produce at fair prices because of reduced supply requirements to NCR and other areas due to bottlenecks in the transport system brought about by the emergency situation. We in the DA have taken steps to help our farmers in various ways, including linking their associations to direct buyers and providing transport assistance,” said Cameron Odsey, office in charge for DA Regional Field Office in the Cordilleras.

“The sourcing of two trucks and manpower by WorkLink Services Inc. of Chelsea Logistics, and fuel and service from Phoenix Petroleum through coordination with Udenna Foundation is helping the Department of Agriculture respond to the needs of these farmers in light of the limitations posed by the situation and the availability of trucks by the DA for this purpose,” he added.

The department immediately linked Udenna Foundation with the Municipality of Tublay Benguet to finalize arrangements for the delivery.

“When PBSP finalized their order to us, we were very happy to have found direct buyers of our produce at a good price, and also for a good cause. However, our farmers still faced difficulties in shipping their products to Manila due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine,” said Jeffrey Sotero, municipal agriculturist of Tublay.

“Our farmers would not be paid if the vegetables are not delivered. Luckily, we found Udenna Foundation who together with WorkLink, and Phoenix Petroleum were willing to help transport the produce free-of-charge, we in the Municipal Government, together with the farmers felt much relief, comfort, and gratitude,” he added.

For his part, Dexter Silva, president of WorkLink Services Inc. said: “We were very much encouraged by our experience a few weeks ago when we were able to bring 2,000 kilos of vegetable relief packs to the City of Malabon so when we heard about the plight of the Benguet farmers, we knew we had to help out.”

“When we were advised by Udenna Foundation that 25 tons of vegetables from the farmers in Benguet had to find its way to the City of Manila, we again believed that Udenna companies can serve as a critical bridge between the anxious farmers needing to deliver their highly perishable goods and the people in NCR, especially the indigent needing assurance that fresh food is readily available even during troubled times,” said Henry Fadullon, chief operating officer for Phoenix.

Udenna Foundation is constantly working with and coordinating with the farmers in Northern and Southern Luzon through the Department of Agriculture and concerned NGOs to provide logistics services to ensure the free flow of fresh produce during the COVID-19 pandemic under the UCARE or CommUnity Care program of the foundation.

UCARE or CommUnity Care is a program of Udenna Foundation that aims to find synergies across the different companies under Udenna to feed, protect, and transport the community.

This call to action is hinged on Udenna Corporation Chairman Dennis Uy’s belief that all efforts, no matter how small, done together can lead to better lives for the Filipino.

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