DA-Cordillera regional executive director Cameron Odsey said prices of vegetables, particularly carrots and cabbage, were abnormally low and the transport of produce had been slower than usual due to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Boy Santos
DA responds to vegetable SOS
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) started transporting vegetables directly from Benguet to be sold in Metro Manila markets after farmers were forced to throw rotten farm products due to lack of buyers.

DA-Cordillera regional executive director Cameron Odsey said prices of vegetables, particularly carrots and cabbage, were abnormally low and the transport of produce had been slower than usual due to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Trucks from the DA were used to transport 10 metric tons of vegetables from a farmers’ group in Tublay in Benguet to Quezon City.

“We continue to arrange for the transport of vegetables from various farmers’ groups in Benguet to DA organized Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita stores in Metro-Manila,” Odsey said.

DA is now finding ways to help farmers market their produce outside the region and assist small vegetable cooperatives and associations to transport their vegetables to Metro Manila to reduce transport costs.

DA is also fast tracking the issuance of food passes to truckers who transport agricultural produce so that they can pass unhampered in all enhanced community quarantine checkpoints.

DA-Cordillera has so far issued 1,300 passes, which facilitated the transport of 8,180 MT of assorted vegetables from Benguet to Metro Manila and other provinces since March 18.

In cooperation with Baguio City and the Department of Trade and Industry, the DA is arranging for vegetables from Benguet to be incorporated in Kadiwa rolling stores that will sell grocery items and farm products in all barangays of the city.

“This will start next week and will be regularly conducted, it is expected that a large volume of vegetables will be sold this way,” Odsey said.

Various local government units of Benguet have also started to procure vegetables for their constituents, especially for non-vegetable producing municipalities.

Further, Tublay municipal agriculturist Jeffrey Sotero said the partnership between LGUs and the DA is a great help to the farmers in selling their products, especially with the current abnormal situation.

Sotero said they also plan to include adjacent municipalities to supply the demand in Metro Manila on a regular basis and to help more farmers in the province.

“Transportation of vegetable products in the market is essential to ensure the quality of products and its availability,” he said.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE METRO MANILA MARKETS
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