Truckloads of Ifugao produce are going to waste due to travel restrictions
The piles of rotting tomatoes are actually just the remnants of what Ifugao farmers had to give away to passersby as relief goods
May 13, 2020
A Facebook post by Ifugao Highland Farmers’ Forum reveals that truckloads of tomatoes have been dumped at Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT) by farmers due to transport and travel issues.
Basura na naman ang kamatis! Kagaya ng mga nakaraang posts natin sa page na ito, walang nagkakagustong makakita ng…
This isn’t the first time this has happened. “Kagaya ng mga nakaraang posts natin sa page na ito, walang nagkakagustong makakita ng nasasayang lang na mga gulay. Kung masakit kay consumer na makita to, mas lalo naman kay farmer,” reads the post.
These tomatoes mostly come from Ifugao farmers who usually harvest tomatoes and other kinds of vegetables at this time of the year.
The reason for dumping them, however, was the current travel restrictions which limit the days farmers can transport their produce, the post reveals.
“Ang posted po na wholesale price ng kamatis kahapon na big classification (first class) ay P8 to P12 per kg. Subalit yun lang po yung mga naka benta, marami pang di makabenta. Kaya ang isa binenta na lang ng P5 per kg, big. Pero dahil marami talaga, nababasura na yung iba kagaya nito.”
Ifugao farmers are either forced to see their produce go to waste or sell them at significantly low prices (some of them had to sell a kilogram of big tomatoes for P5).
“Marami na nga pag dinadala, nagkakasabay sabay pa ang pag ani at pagbyahe dahil sa local policy na MWF lang sila pwedeng magbiyahe ng gulay. At dahil highly perishable ang kamatis lalo na sa init ngayon, isang araw lang na delay o di mabenta, bagsak presyo na.” the post continues.
According to the Ifugao Highland Farmers Forum, the selling price of these tomatoes become lower than the running price when they start to become overripe. For farmers to cover production cost, they need to sell these tomatoes at around P15 to P 20.
“Accordingly, around P15 to P20 would be breakeven cost, depende kasi sa various possible expenses, the farther the source, the higher the cost. For example, the trucking alone from barangay Danggo in Tinoc costs five pesos per kg loaded on the vehicle. Then, add other costs, like seeds, fertilizers, labor, machine etc yun lugi na ang P8 to P12 for the bigger tomatoes even,” the admin of the forum tells us.
Thereafter, the forum voices out the farmers’ need for some compromise in the restrictions as they are only given three days a week to transport their harvested goods whereas buyers from different locations do not have a separate schedule.
“Ang hiling ng mga farmers at disposers ay kung pwedeng hindi ilimit ang byahe sa Monday, Wednesday, Friday lang dahil sa mga nasabing dahilan. Hindi rin naman MWF ang schedule ng mga buyers na galing sa iba’t ibang lugar,” the post continues.
The three-day restriction only seems to put more farmers at risk as most of them will have to flock to the markets and sell as much of their crops as they can given the very limited amount of time.
“Naiintindihan nila na ang pangunahing dahilan ng local na Monday, Wednesday, Friday policy ay dahil kay COVID, para sana mabawasan ang interaction ng farmers, pero ang obserbasyon nila ay parang mas lalong risky ang ikumpol ang mga farmers sa tatlong araw lang sa isang linggo dahil lalo nang nagiging crowded ang palengke dahil nagdadagsahan ang mga farmers sa mga nasabing tatlong araw. “
The post also reveals that the piles of rotting tomatoes are actually just the remnants of what Ifugao farmers had to give away to passersby as relief goods.
While this may be a generous act, we are also overlooking the fact that this puts Ifugao farmers at a disadvantage given the work that they’ve put into growing and harvesting the said produce.
And so, the people behind the forum are calling for empathy from the people and the government as these farmers have worked for months only to see their produce go to waste or sold at a low price.
“Tulungan natin sila na manatiling nakatayo at hindi umaasa ng ayuda. Imbes na takutin sila sa kalsada ay ipaliwanag lang o gabayan para gawin nila ang tama sa kanilang pag biyahe,” the post ends.
Header photo from Ifugao Highland Farmer’s Forum Facebook page post
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