Vegetables rot in Benguet due to oversupply

Louise Maureen Simeon, Artemio Dumlao - The Philippine Star

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – , Philippines  —   Tons of vegetables are rotting in Benguet farms amid low prices.

August Balanoy, Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative general manager, said some farmers are left with no choice but to throw away their excess produce as oversupply of vegetables by as much as 300 percent resulted in a drop in prices.

Balanoy said farmers harvested around 3.5 million kilos per day since the start of the year. The normal daily harvest is only 1.2 million kilos.

Balanoy said the glut was due to weather conditions in the third and last quarter of 2018, which affected production and marketing schedules. 

“We ask the agriculture department to step in,” he said.

Benguet farmers also called on the government to build bigger processing facilities to address oversupply. 

 At the La Trinidad Trading Post last week, the price of Chinese cabbage dropped to P1 to 7 per kilo, potatoes at P15 to 50 and carrots at P1 to P35.Prices have barely increased since Wednesday.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the government would allocate P100 million in compensation to affected farmers in the Cordilleras.

“Traders refused to buy vegetables delivered by the farmers to the Benguet trading center because the floods in Bicol prevented them from shipping the commodities,” Piñol said.

Piñol said allegations that the Department of Agriculture (DA) is insensitive to the plight of Cordillera vegetable farmers are “baseless and prematurely hurled.”

He said the DA and the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. would start identifying the affected farmers for the release of insurance payments.

The process is expected to take two weeks.

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