BAUKO, Mountain Province – Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala warned middlemen not to interfere with the initiatives of the government in trying to help the upland vegetable farmers increase their income from their own produce, saying that they will suffer the consequences of their illegal acts once they will be caught red-handed doing their clandestine activities.
Secretary Alcala presided over a farmer’s forum here recently which was organized by the Bauko municipal government led by Mayor Abraham B. Akilit where nearly 1,500 farmers from the 22 barangays graced the once in a lifetime interaction with a Cabinet official that visited the locality.
“We want the farmers to be the ones to bring their produce to the nearest trading centers for them to be able to be the ones earning sufficient income from their crops and not the middlemen to be the ones to be earning more at the expense of those who produced the crops,” Alcala stressed.
He underscored the reason why government is steadfast in continuously improving the operations of trading centers nationwide is to make transactions beneficial to farmers so that they will not be falling in line for several days awaiting their middlemen to be able to get buyers to purchase their produce which might already be rotten.
Alcala explained the system at the newly inaugurated Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center allows farmers to immediately go home after bringing to the facility their produce because once the vegetables are weighed and the corresponding farmers are given their payment slips, they could already collect their money from management and can leave the place the soonest.
However, The DA official appealed to the farmers to sustain the trust and confidence that they have bestowed upon them by not mixing up their produce considering that there will be corresponding purchasing prices for first, second and third class vegetables that will be sorted within the facility.
According to him, with the current set up in place, middlemen will no longer have a place in the supply chain that will surely translate to higher income among the farmers who are supposed to be the ones to benefit from their own produce and not for anybody else to be reaping the fruits of their labor.
Alcala told farmers that they must already learn to outrighlty reject the services of middlemen because they will be guaranteed better income than those trying to be the ones to reap the fruits of their labor, saying that vegetable farmers should assert that they deserve to be the ones to gain from what they have labored for, ringing from the sowing of seeds to the harvesting of their crops.
He cited he was awed by the industry of women in helping their husbands tend their crops, saying that it was only in the Cordillera that he witnessed women who work from sun rise to sun down in order to make sure that their crops for the planting season will be able to grow well and generate more income for their families.