MANILA - Are Filipino farmers at fault for the oversupply of vegetables in the country?
Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban earlier blamed farmers for the oversupply of garlic and cabbage, without considering the market for their produce.
According to Agot Balanoy, spokesperson of the League of Associations LA Trinidad Vegetable Trading Area, farmers should not be blamed for lack of crop programming since it is government that should take the lead.
Speaking to ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Balanoy said individual farmers do not always know what is being planted in different municipalities.
"Yung nangyayari kasi na oversupply totoo na walang programming dito pero I don't think kasalanan yun ng farmer, yung sasabihin na dapat sila ang nag-iisip kung ano ang itatanim para hindi magkakaroon ng oversupply o undersupply," she said.
"Yung mga farmers kasi individual farmers yan. Yung itinanim niya sa munisipyo, hindi niya alam kung ano ang itinanim sa ibang munisipyo. They don't have any way of knowing kung yung itinatanim nila ay itinanim din ng kasama nila."
Balanoy said the Department of Agriculture should take the lead in crop programming in different municipalities and not place the burden on farmers. A series of meetings has been conducted with agriculture officials to discuss crop programming, she said.
"Kailangan talaga ng crop programming but we cannot ask the farmers to do it themselves. Maganda nga po ang Department of Agriculture ang mangunguna sa pagpaplano ng crop programming na ito para maiwasan yung oversupply," she said.
For his part, Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center chief operations officer Jesson Del-Amen confirmed that prices of cabbage went down to as low as 2 pesos per kilo due to oversupply at one point. He said there have also reports of cabbage importation.
Prices have since picked up.
"Actually ngayon ang repolyo mataas na ulit ang kilo, P26-P30 per kilo unlike before noon P2, P3, P4, P5 per kilo," he said.
However, he also noted that a kilo of cabbage could sell for as high as P80-P90 a kilo due to high transportation costs and other add-ons by middlemen.
Del-Amen said one reason for the oversupply is lack of irrigation. Since some farms do not have enough water, farmers are forced to wait for the rainy season to plant crops, which could lead to oversupply.
"Alam ng farmers ang crop programming o crop rotation. Ang problema lang kasi may mga areas na non-irrigated. Walang tubig. Kaya ang ginagawa nila, tina-timing nila sa ulan. Swerte po yung may irrigation kasi meron silang pattern na sinusunod. Kaya yung isang farmer hinihintay yung ulan. Yung nasa munisipyo nagtanim ng repolyo, naturally po andami na pong repolyo dyan," he said.