The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries carry our farmers nearer to their market

By Mae Lorraine Rafols Lorenzo
Images by Jovel Lorenzo

There’s a typical temper hovering amongst farmers from Luzon to Mindanao in final week’s first ever ‘TienDA Farmers and Fishermen’s Outlet’ spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) held on the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) Compound in San Andres, Manila—and that’s confidence.

Available and reasonably priced meals for the Filipinos

A day earlier than the truthful was about to begin, when many of the farmers and fishermen becoming a member of the occasion had been nonetheless organising their stalls, folks we’re already shopping for most of their produce. So enthusiastic was the group that farmer Ardan Copas from Benguet already bought out his show by midday of the primary day of the truthful.

“Everything is sold out, we were really surprised,” mentioned the farmer from Benguet in Filipino. Selling largely highland greens like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sayote, and delightful inexperienced capsicums, Copas shared how the federal government, by means of DAF, has been extraordinarily supportive of the farming business significantly since President Rodrigo Duterte got here into workplace.

“Most of the major trading centers were vastly improved, and it’s now easier for farmers to get a loan from the Department of Agriculture,” Copas mentioned.

The Tienda Farmers and Fishermen’s Outlet is simply one of many initiatives being promoted by DAF’s secretary Manny Piñol.

 “In line with President Rody Duterte’s vision of Available and Affordable Food for the Filipinos, the Dept. of Agriculture and Fisheries is now establishing a marketing system, which would ensure that the farmers’ produce would be made available to the consumers directly,” says Sec. Piñol.

With the mentioned marketing campaign, they hope to additional reduce the affect of middlemen. “Before the farmers’ produce reaches the consumers, it goes through several layers and tiers of middlemen, traders, and dicers. The result is less earnings for the farmers and higher cost for the consumers,” the secretary mentioned.

This kind of selling marketing campaign is appreciated by the likes of farmers like Jay Galiste of the Pomelo Growers Association in Mlang, Cotabato, the hometown of the secretary. According to him, farmers, like those that are a part of their co-op, have a tough time promoting their produce to far locations like Luzon, saying that the journey of their pomelos goes by means of totally different channels earlier than they attain their most popular patrons within the metropolis.

“We really need help with marketing our produce. Most of the time, we get buyers from Davao, but then when Davao harvests their own pomelo, they end up not buying from us anymore,” he mentioned.

Which is why getting the DA’s help is a significant assist for his or her business.

“We no longer have to look for a venue where we can sell our pomelo. In fact, it’s the DA that usually invites us through their regional offices to join their trade fairs. Because of this, we are able to sell our products at a good price.”

Galiste additionally shared that they hope the DA could be open to conducting more advertising and sales-related seminars to farmers like them who’re situated in far-flung areas.

From producers to shoppers

The marketing campaign to straight carry farmers’ produce to the market already started early this yr. Last January, the DA was in a position to encourage massive supermarkets just like the SM Group, Robinsons Supermarket, Rustan’s Super Center, and even quick meals teams like Shakey’s and Jollibee to get their onions straight from Filipino farmers.

This time round, the DA paid for all of the transportation wants of the farmers, together with the transport choices of all their produce.

Emiliano Porgarillas of the Durian Industry Association in Davao, shared how the DA paid for his or her aircraft fares and cargo charge simply to allow them to carry Davao durian to Manila.

“They paid for everything, even our plane tickets. In fact, in Davao, since durian is not in season, the selling price even in Davao is very high. But because we were able to bring the fruits here in Manila for free, we are able to sell them at dirt cheap prices,” Porgarillas mentioned.

But except for this, Porgarillas additionally shared how durian cooperatives had been supplied with free machines that they will use for his or her enterprise.

“In Davao, you’re not allowed to just throw durian skins anywhere because it could be dangerous. So this time around we were given grinding machines needed for proper disposal of our waste products.”

The identical benefit is being loved by farmers like Warlito Abes Jr. of Roxas in Region 2. As chairman of the Roxas Fruits & Vegetables Marketing Coop, which harvests lowland greens like ampalaya, eggplant, upo, and squash, he shared that the brand new authorities has already assisted them in numerous methods similar to offering heavy machineries wanted for each planting and harvesting.

“They are also very supportive in letting us join trade fairs like this one. If a private group organizes trade fairs, the DA regional office usually handles all participation fees. It’s a big boost for us who are located quite far from the city,” he mentioned.

As for the pineapple growers of Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley, the DA assists them by offering the much-needed coaching and seminars on how create byproducts of the pineapples they develop.

“As long as you are part of a cooperative, the department is always willing to help. Now that we’ve mastered the planting and the harvesting, the next phase is the DA helping us produce better byproducts that can be exported to other countries,” mentioned Ofelia Sapallo, supervisor of the Sta. Ana Pineapple Farmer Growers Producer Cooperative.

A heritage of farming

Most of the farmers who joined the commerce truthful have been tilling the soil for a few years, most of whom are already third era farmers within the household.

“I’ve been in the durian industry since my parents taught me how to grow the fruit,” mentioned Porgarillas. “I did not have formal training, but we’ve been doing this for such a long time that we’ve mastered farming. Filipinos are industrious, we can grow whatever plants if we work hard for it.”

And as for Abes, he additionally shared that he’ll proceed to be a farmer and train it to his youngsters even when they need to be one thing else except for being a farmer sooner or later. “There are different types of farming and produce that will fit your needs. There are plants that can provide for what you need on a daily, monthly, and quarterly basis. You will never go hungry as long as you know how to till the land,” he mentioned.

And with the federal government’s advocacy to hyperlink the farmers straight to the shoppers, now could be the perfect time ever to flip to the soil for a residing.

Tags: Davao, Department of Agriculture, farming business, Filipino farmers, Pomelo Growers Association, President Rodrigo Duterte

Source: manilabulletin