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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial board passed a resolution requesting the Department of Agriculture (DA) to establish the appropriate sources of funds to buy the agricultural produce from farmers in times of oversupply to prevent them from incurring huge losses and seriously impact negatively to the farming communities.
The resolution authored by Board member Nestor Fongwan, Jr. stated that after buying the agricultural produce of farmers from the different farming communities around the province in times of oversupply, the agency can sell the same to other areas in the country thereby enhancing the existing Kadiwa Program.
Fongwan disclosed the aforesaid request to the concerned agency to establish the fund to buy the agricultural produce like vegetables, is to help farmers in cases where there is oversupply, stabilizing the buying prices of vegetables in the market, and ensuring decent income from the sale of their produce.
Benguet, known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines, is the source of over 80 percent of the semi-temperate or highland vegetables being sold in other parts of the country through the years.
Boardmember Fongwan admitted there are many instances where the province experienced oversupply of vegetables because due to various reasons, but the problem became very evident during this period of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with the stringent restrictions on the movement of people and goods.
Because of the difficulty in the access to food by the people, and the impact of the community quarantine to the agriculture industry stakeholders, the agriculture department revived the Kadiwa Program that was aimed to give the country’s local food producers a stable market despite the implementation of the community quarantine nationwide.
Aside from the agriculture department, the president of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) Benguet chapter said that different local governments and private groups and individuals had been constantly buying vegetables in the province to help the heavily impacted farmers and at the same time distribute the same to their needy constituents and identified beneficiaries.
According to him, hundreds of thousands of vegetable farmers rely on the province’s agriculture industry as their major source of income over the past several decades, thus the concerned government agencies must continue to formulate appropriate programs, projects and activities to improve the state of the agriculture sector and ensure there will be no drastic decline in the buying prices of their produce.
Fongwan asserted as the major source of highland vegetables in the country, mechanisms that should be put in place to ensure there is no unnecessary decline in the prices of vegetables attributed to over-production as it will be very difficult for farmers to recover as they may to obtain loans at huge interests thus affecting their future income.
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