LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Thousands of vegetable farmers and traders are appealing to Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno to abandon the plans of closing the operation of the famous Divisoria market for a longer period of time in the coming weeks to prevent hundreds of thousands of perishable goods from gong to waste because of the zero transactions in the said facility that will lead to the eventual death of the lucrative vegetable industry of the province.
Benguet and some parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao remain to be the source of over 80 percent of the supply of highland vegetables being sold in the Metro Manila and other markets in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
The Manila City government will be closing the roads leading to Tondo, including the roads within the Divisoria area, on January 17-19, 2020 for the celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño of Tondo that will cause the zero transactions in the said facility that would mean heavy losses on the part of the traders and the farmers providing the supply of vegetables in the Metro Manila area.
Based on the data from the La Trinidad Vegetable Truckers and Traders Association, local traders are delivering more or less 500 tons of assorted highland vegetables to Metro Manila daily which would mean that the closure of Divisoria for 3 days would result to substantial losses in terms of income for both traders and the farmers who provide the daily supply of agricultural crops for the said market.
Local traders and farmers claimed that the closure of the Divisoria market for 3 days will aggravate the prevailing situation wherein the buying prices of vegetables is at its lowest thereby resulting to heavy losses among farmers and that they do not want the province’s vegetable industry to continue suffering from such setbacks that will cause its eventual death in the future.
According to the affected traders and farmers, once the Divisoria section will not transact business, then they do not have any alternative where to sell the unpurchased vegetables that will eventually rot in the La Trinidad vegetable trading post which would mean loss on the part of the farmers that delivered the assorted vegetables.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda said that he already sent a message to the office of Mayor Moreno for them to have a dialogue on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 to discuss the plight of the vegetable farmers and traders who are bound to be heavily affected with the impending 3-day closure of the Divisoria market, one of the biggest sites where vegetables from Benguet are being traded in the Metro Manila area.
“We hope that we will be able to get a positive response from Mayor Moreno himself so that appropriate adjustments could be done with the impending closure of Divisoria so that our farmers and traders will not have to suffer the serious negative impact of the closure of Divisoria for quite some time,” Mayor Salda stressed.
Salda expressed optimism that a ‘ win-win solution’ could be reached with the Manila City government and the representatives of the vegetable truckers and traders once they will have a dialogue so that there will be continuous transactions in the Divisoria to prevent the farmers and traders from suffering the effects of the closure of the facility to pave the way for the feast.
By Dexter A. See