Oversupply? Cordillera farmers blame veggie losses on lack of proper marketing system

Micaella Ilao, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2020 11:18 PM | Updated as of Mar 04 2020 11:49 PM

Farmers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have been experiencing an oversupply in some of their vegetable produce, like wombok or Chinese cabbage.

As of Wednesday, the price of cabbage bought directly from farmers dropped from the usual P11 to P15 per kilo, to P4 to P8 a kilo.

The price drop is hurting sales of both farmers and traders in the region.

Felix Patical, a cabbage farmer, said they have been experiencing financial losses.

"'Yung bayad na dinadala namin kulang pa sa gastos namin. Hindi naibabalik lahat ng nagastos namin. Talagang kulang. Negative," Patical said.

Farmer-trader Arturo Tudias said that the Department of Agriculture (DA) needs to make an efficient marketing system to increase the farmers' profit.

He said oversupply of vegetables is not the main problem of the farmers but rather the lack of a proper marketing system.

"Hindi kami naniniwala diyan. Kasi yung sinsasabi nilang oversupply ng wombok, pumunta ka ng Visayas, puno ba yung palengke nila ng wombok? Hindi. Marketing system 'yan, depende kung sino yung dapat magmamarketo kaya meron sanang promotion sa produkto na yan," Tudias stressed.

This is not the first time there has been an oversupply of produce in Benguet.

Farmers are hoping that the DA will collect data on the production needs of different cities and provinces in the Philippines to maximize the distribution of goods.

With this, the demand for vegetables in other parts of the country will be met and oversupply will be avoided, they said.

"Idikta nila kung ano lang talaga ang kailangan. 'Yung demand, 'yan lang sana ang i-produce. Kailangan meron yung total na ipro-produce kagaya ng bigas, ng corn. Meron 'yung dapat nilang i-produce. 'Pag nagkukulang tayo, nag-i-import, ganon sana sa gulay," Tudias said.

He said farmers in the CAR should be taught on how to market their goods.

"'Yun ang nakikita naming kakulangan ng mga farmers. Hindi kami marunong mag-introduce ng sarili naming produkto. Tanim lang ng tanim, hindi pa alam kung paano iluto," Tudias said.

DA Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and Marketing Kristine Evangelista said the department is planning to enter into a contract with the farmers and assist them.

"We will guide them ano ang itatanim, [and] at the same time, making sure na meron nang kontrata. Kaya nga we call it contract growing," Evangelista said.

The department will also look for a market ready for the farmers.

"May ready market, it will work for the farmers for the retails and at the end of the day for the consumers also," she said.