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Gov’t intervenes on vegetable surplus in Dalaguete

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | July 24,2020 - 06:26 PM

Govt intervenes on vegetable surplus in Dalaguete

Surplus of unsold vegetables harvested from Cebu’s vegetable bowl in Barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete town turned into waste, prompting farmers there to call for help from the government. | Photo courtesy of Lorraine Mitzi Ambrad

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Officials from the local and national government have intervened to address the surplus of vegetables being produced in Dalaguete town in southern Cebu.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia promised that the Cebu Provincial government would be coming up with plans in ensuring the extra supply of vegetables, mostly cabbages, from Barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete would not go to waste.

“We have to work out a plan on where we will be distributing these (surplus of vegetables). As of now, what is clear is that we have to act and prevent them from turning into waste which could turn as a burden for our farmers,” Garcia said in Cebuano.

She also said she was planning to store surplus vegetables inside the 20-foot cold storage container parked at the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), which currently serves as a drop-off point of all harvested goods and other raw supplies from different parts in the province.

Lawyer Salvador Diputado, director of the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7), said their agency decided to come up with ‘marketing strategies’ and tie-ups with multiple farmer groups to aid the distribution of vegetables from Mantalongon.

“What we did was to establish tie-ups between the traders and the farmers from other towns and communities so that the distribution will cover a wider area,” said Diputado in a mix of English and Cebuano in a separate interview.

Diputado also said they had tapped the assistance of the Provincial Agriculture Office to determine the market size and volume of demand of every local government unit in Cebu province in terms of vegetables.

A decrease in demand

Photos and videos of wilting, unsold vegetables harvested from Barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete recently made rounds on social media. The post’s author, Lorraine Mitzi Ambrad, who also resides in the village, said farmers from their community needed help in addressing this concern.

Mantalongon is a hinterland village in Dalaguete and is considered as Cebu’s vegetable bowl for producing almost half of the province’s vegetable supply.

Dalaguete is a first-class municipality located approximately 88 kilometers southeast of Cebu City.

According to Diputado, most of the vegetable supplies from Dalaguete, and other parts in Cebu province, were usually delivered to Carbon Public Market in Cebu City to be sold. But since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, things have changed, he said.

While acknowledging that the unsold surplus of vegetables could put farmers at a disadvantage, both Garcia and Diputado said that what happened in Dalaguete was a result of a decline in demand.

“When our farmers deliver their harvested goods to a common marketplace or trading center, some of these, in small quantities, will eventually turn into waste. But this is normal. What we had in Mantalongon is a surplus of vegetables,” Diputado explained.

For her part, Garcia assured that the delivery of essential goods such as raw vegetables would remain unhampered despite border controls between Cebu City and the territorial jurisdiction of Cebu province.

Garcia also clarified that the surplus of vegetables in Mantalongon, Dalaguete was not due to stringent border controls and checkpoints.

“Even back when we’re still in ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), and even when our ports were closed back then, it was very clear that the movement of cargos should be unimpeded,” she added.

Cebu province, where Dalaguete belonged, is under the state of modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). /dbs

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