LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Concerned farmers from the different municipalities who were supposed to benefit from the hundreds of thousands of metric tons of potato planting materials recently brought to the province by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol are demanding for an investigation on where the said materials were distributed and for those who received the same to be transparent on their liquidation.
Sources, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal from the officers of their associations, claimed that the hundreds of thousands of metric tons of potato planting materials loaded in a number of container vans were brought to the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) and were allegedly received by a farmer’s cooperative and a private organization but it seems that the supposed beneficiaries of the planting materials who are supposed to be the farmers who were victims of calamities never got their allocations to date.
The sources narrated that only a few container vans containing the potato planting materials were presented to the public although some of the container vans were within the area, and time passed and the farmers who were supposed to benefit from the distribution of the same never got their allocations for them to be able to recover from the damages from the natural calamities to their production areas last year.
“We want the agriculture department to look into this controversy because contrary to what had been promised to us as the government’s support for us to recover from last year’s natural calamities still remains in the air despite the arrival of the several container vans containing the potato planting materials supposed to be distributed to us,” the sources stressed.
According to them, over 100,000 metric tons of potato planting materials were reportedly loaded in the container vans that arrived in the province last month for distribution to the calamity-stricken farmers documented by the agriculture department and the provincial government.
Some of the sources allege the potato planting materials supposed to be distributed for free to the affected farmers have been allegedly sold to some farmers coming from the different vegetable-producing towns of Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao.
The sources lashed out at the farmer’s cooperative that tries to make representations on the concerns of the farmers as it has not addressed this alleged missing potato planting materials that had not yet been accounted for by the private organization that was supposedly to distribute the same.
Concerned government agencies and the local governments must immediately be done to respond to the concerns of these sources who cannot accept the fact that there are only a few individuals who are enriching themselves at the expense of the farmers who have to work hard to recover from the serious negative effects of the wrath of natural calamities that struck the province and the region late last year.
The sources urged the concerned government agencies and local governments not to rely on groups representing themselves as advancing the cause of farmers in cases of the distribution of assistance but instead hand over directly to the farmers the said aid. By HENT