TINOC, Ifugao – The municipality of Tinoc in Ifugao is set to strengthen its farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR).
Tinoc, bordered by the provinces of Benguet, Nueva Vizcaya, and Mountain Province, has strong potential for agricultural endeavors and has an agricultural land area of about 5,802 hectares. It covers irrigated/upland rice lands; diversified fruit trees farmlands; vegetables and root crops land; mixed fruit tree croplands, and other agricultural properties.
Crops planted include lettuce, cauliflower, sweet potato, potato, garden pea, and other vegetables. Carrots, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, tomato, and bell pepper are vegetable crops intensively and extensively cultivated and produced because they are high-yielding crops.
One of the major commodities in the municipality which is also an all-year-round crop is the tomato. Bulk of its production is coming from the barangays of Poblacion, Gumhang, Impugong, Luhong, Danggo, Binablayan, and Ap-apid.
According to Municipal Agriculturist Pedring P. Manghi, farmers are harvesting about 46,000 kgs. per day and are being brought to Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal, Inc. (NVAT) as their market. Farmers tend to harvest during the said months because they produce higher yields during these periods compared to the months of October to December wherein the farmers are not able to harvest much due to weather conditions, but the price of tomatoes is higher.
During the interview with Mayor Samson Benito, he shared that one of the challenges they are facing mostly in the vegetable industry is oversupply which has an impact on market trends. However, the municipal government has been persistent in urging farmers to practice crop rotation as a strategy to overcome this. The option on what to plant rests with the farmer, he added, “We always advise our farmers to apply crop rotation to improve the soil fertility and at least to avoid the oversupply,” he said.
Thus, DA-CAR Field Operations Division Virgie Tapat challenged the municipal government to capacitate their FCAs so the agency can continue their support in terms of equipment, organization, market-related trainings, Good Agricultural Practices training, and other available support that the agency can provide.
Tapat likewise reiterated that the agency’s role is merely to connect the farmers to markets and potential buyers and not to purchase the vegetables from the farmers.
Manghi acknowledged that DA-CAR has always been very supportive ever since. A processing center was already established but they planned to convert it into a consolidation facility for all types of vegetables. But to be able to utilize it, a strong farmers’ cooperative should be trained to make it functional. Therefore, he committed to strengthening one of their FCAs in collaboration with DA-CAR. By LDMendoza and JBPeralta