Pangilinan urges LGUs to buy farmers’ produce

Published June 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Mario Casayuran

Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan today urged local government units (LGUs) to buy directly from farmers who face financial ruin after no one bought their produce because of oversupply.

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Pangilinan, former Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization during the Noynoy Aquino presidency, made the call after learning that farmers in Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao are asking for help because of the oversupply problem.

There are reports that farmers simply throw their produce to rot in the fields or hillsides. Others were forced to sell at very low prices while the prices of such produce are very high in the Metro Manila area.

“Nakakalungkot at nakakaalarma ito dahil hirap na nga ang mga magsasaka bago pa ang pandemya, nababawasan pa ang kanilang kita. Bukod sa kailangang matulungan sila na magkaroon ng tamang storage at iba’t ibang kasanayan sa canning o bottling, dapat ding siguruhin na mayroong market ang kanilang mga ani,’’ he said. (It is sad and alarming because the earnings of farmers, even before the pandemic, have not improved. Government must ensure steady market for the famers’ produce or install appropriate storage, canning or bottling.)

Pangilinan asked the local governments in Nueva Ecija, Ifugao and nearby provinces to buy the surpluses from farmers,

Under the Sagip Saka Law, the purchase of agricultural produce need not pass through very slow processes. LGUs could purchase such produce through negotiated sales to increase the incomes of farmers.

Pangilinan said he was told by Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar that the LGUs have bought so far some P2 billion worth of fruits and vegetables from farmers under the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) policy.

“Ginamit nila ito para isama sa mga relief goods na ipinamigay sa kanilang mga kababayan,’’ Pangilinan said. (The LGUs mixed these with the relief goods that they have distributed to our countrymen.)

“Kailangang magpatuloy ito at masigurong may tiyak na bibili ng ani ng ating mga magsasaka,’’ he added. (This process must continue to ensure the purchase of farmers’ produce.)

Pangilinan said his office is in constant contact with farmers and cooperatives to address these problems.

He asked that these problems in the provinces or cooperatives should be relayed to his office through Allan with cell phone number 09171232882.

 
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