BOKOD, Benguet – The Department of Agriculture-Cordillera (DA-CAR), through its Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) in partnership with Bila Barangay Agriculture Extension Workers, conducted an on-site validation of tomato production in Bila, Bokod, Benguet as part of its continuing promotion of agricultural programs and activities in the region.
This follows the social media post showing unharvested tomatoes on a plantation in Barangay Bila and the findings showed that the posted tomatoes were already in the final/last harvesting stage.
Though the farmers left their produce unharvested, they were able to generate income from their previous harvests. Accordingly, by harvesting the remaining tomatoes and bringing them to the market, the farmers will incur losses since the prevailing price of tomatoes during their harvesting period is lower than the previous weeks.
Thus, the farmers opted not to harvest their produce instead and offered it for free to passers-by and community members in their area.
During the harvest season, crops such as tomatoes can be harvested up to nine times with an interval of 3 to 7 days for each gathering period. There were 18 farmers from the sitios of Coros, Palansa, Binga-an, Aponan, and Cayapes in Bila who decided to leave their ready-to-harvest tomatoes in the field.
As of April 28, 2023, the price for Avatar and Diamante Tomatoes (both large sizes) at the La Trinidad Trading Post ranged from P8 to P10 per kilogram and P6 to P10, respectively, while prices in the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) ranged from P10 to P12 and P8 to P10, respectively.
The price at the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal (NVAT), on the other hand, ranged from P6 to P8 per kilogram and P4 to P6 per kilogram, respectively.
Tomato prices in its peak gathering season can go down to as low as P3 per kilogram when tomato producers from various municipalities and provinces market their products simultaneously.
With this, the DA-RFO CAR, together with its partner agencies and local government units, continue to promote crop programming to minimize the problem of the drop in the prices of vegetables and the spoilage of high-value crops like tomatoes.
Moreover, the agency looks forward to a dialogue with organized farmer groups in the region to effectively communicate its different agricultural programs and how these farmer groups can seek assistance primarily in marketing their products as well as in availing of other interventions such as the KADIWA Ng Pangulo (KNP). By JTLLanes with reports from Yeng Taneo and Albert Jay Lab-oyan