LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Rep. Eric Yap expressed his gratitude to individuals and groups who continue to help local vegetable farmers sell their produce and raise awareness on the said issue for concerned government agencies to immediately act on the matter before it will be too late.
“We are appealing to restaurants, local businesses, local governments, even cities in Metro Manila to help with short term measures such as in purchasing the excess supply of vegetables from Benguet, Also, we hope that concerned individuals and groups can purchase the produce in relatively advantageous prices for our farmers to recover their cost of production which they could use to recover from the present difficult situation,” Yap stressed in a statement.
However, the Lone District Representative of Benguet pointed out that the temporary solution to the problem should not stop there as it is just a temporary relief and a short term solution.
In terms of legislation, Yap filed several bills to help in advancing the state of the country’s agriculture sector, including the local vegetable industry, to ensure that concerned stakeholders will directly benefit from their sources of livelihood.
Among the said proposed laws include House Bill (HB) 316 or the Marketing and Utilization of Local Agricultural Produce Act that mandate government institutions such as jails, government offices, hospitals and food service establishments like restaurants within the neighboring regions, hotels, resorts, catering services, to purchase the agricultural produce of local farmers and producers for their food preparation and production which was filed on June 30, 2022; HB 3382 that seeks to mandate national and local governments to purchase agricultural produce of local farmers or producers for relief and feeding programs which was filed on August 8, 2022; HB 315 or the Free Index-based Agriculture Insurance which provides automatic insurance payout to cover the cost of damaged crops due to extreme weather conditions which was filed on June 30, 2022 and HB 319 that seeks to increase the penalty for large-scale agricultural smuggling that was filed on June 30, 2022.
Aside from these legislations, Yap claimed that his office is doing a holistic approach to assist and boost the province’s agriculture sector with the continuous implementation of short-term measures such as cash assistance to farmers and other vulnerable sectors, improved access to social services, medium-term solutions such as alternative livelihood, scholarships for the children of farmers and a long-term infrastructure development through the construction of farm to market roads and road opening solutions.
Further, Yap is seeking to institutionalize mechanisms so that farmers can protect and increase their produce and to minimize the production cost.
He also expressed his support to the ongoing digitalization of the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) to provide better services to both farmers and consumers for the advancement of the local agriculture industry considering its important contribution to the country’s food sector. Benguet serves as the source of more than 80 percent of the supply of highland vegetables being sold in the different markets nationwide. By Dexter A. See