Marcos to farmers: Link with hotels, restaurants to avoid wastage

Farmers will be provided linkages to hotels and restaurants where they can sell their produce in bulk in an attempt to attain a zero to minimal wastage of agricultural products.

Many produced tomatoes are thrown away in Lantapan, Bukidnon because of its alleged cheaper price. (Photo courtesy of Penong Sebuya Gonzales facebook account)

The Department of Agriculture (DA), which President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. heads in a concurrent capacity, announced that it will intensify farmers' market linkages through contract farming with hotels, restaurants, and other institutional buyers on the procurement of surplus harvests.

According to Marcos, the program will be in the form of relevant assistance and interventions seen to facilitate the transport of produce to areas where these are in demand, with zero to minimal wastage of agricultural goods.

This came after the dumping of some 500 kilos of small tomatoes valued at P8 - P12 per kilo from the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Trading (NVAT) on Jan. 25.

Marcos said the DA is now looking into this report.

Julio Basilan, Marketing Officer of NVAT, has explained that when the price of tomato ranges between P8 to P12 per kilo, it is natural for buyers to prefer the larger-sized produce.

Meanwhile, the retail price of tomatoes in Metro Manila markets is at between P25 to P60 per kilo, according to the price monitoring report of the DA Surveillance, Monitoring, and Enforcement Group (SMEG) as of Feb. 2.

The President said the move to facilitate more market linkages for farmers and fisherfolks is part of a more efficient food mobilization strategy aimed at preventing oversupply of produce and loss of income for local farmers.

He said this will be achieved through the distribution of delivery trucks and vegetable crates to more farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) and municipalities under the agency’s Enhanced KADIWA Grant.

In 2022, the Agriculture department listed 10 municipalities as beneficiaries of the grant.