Dalaguete mayor trades sacks of rice with unsold harvest

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | August 02,2020 - 11:08 AM
Dalaguete mayor offers rice as barter for farmers with excess vegetables

Unsold harvest from Cebu’s vegetable bowl in Barangay Mantalongon, Dalaguete town, has started to rot prompting farmers there to call for the government’s help. | Photo courtesy of Lorraine Mitzi Ambrad

MOALBOAL, Cebu – In a bid to prevent vegetable harvest from rotting, Dalaguete Mayor Jeffrey Belciña said their local government traded excess supply with sacks of rice.

Belciña said they have so far traded 60 sacks of rice with around 20 tons of unsold vegetables, mostly cabbages, that were harvested from the farms in Barangay Mantalongon.

“These were the excess or those which the provincial government and other traders were no longer able to accommodate,” Belciña said in Cebuano.

READ: Cebu City assures unimpeded entry of farm goods from Dalaguete

The mayor said that since the produce have started to wilt, and were no longer in sellable condition, the local government decided to trade around 75 percent of these with sacks of rice. The other 25 percent, he said, were paid with cash.

Belcina said they then distributed the vegetables to town residents as food aid during this time of the pandemic.

“We computed the price of these vegetables at P8 per kilo. So if you multiply 20 tons by P8, that’s around P160,000,” Belciña explained.

“Since most of the vegetables cannot be sold to markets or trading centers, we decided to purchase around 75 percent of these. That’s around P120,000,” he added.

However, Belcina was uncertain as to the amount of cash that the municipal government paid to the farmers since he did not have his records during his interview on Saturday, August 1.

What he is certain of is that they released 60 sacks of rice with a total value of P120,000 to more than 100 farmers from Barangay Mantalongon.

“The price per kilo of rice traded was at P40,” the mayor said.

Mantalongon is a hinterland village in the town of Dalaguete, located approximately 85 kilometers southeast of Cebu City, and is known as Cebu’s vegetable basket for producing almost half of the island’s vegetable supply.

Last July, posts showing unsold vegetables lying on the floors of the Mantalongon Public Market went viral as farmers there clamored for government intervention.

Both the Cebu provincial government and the Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) pointed to low demand due to quarantine restrictions as the primary reason for the unsold supply of vegetables.

Harvest coming from the barangay lost its biggest market which is the Carbon Public Market in Cebu because of the implementation of travel restrictions.

READ: Gov’t intervenes on vegetable surplus in Dalaguete

Aside from helping farmers in Barangay Mantalongon, Belciña said that they also gave out food packs to farmers who are situated in other parts of their town.

Belcina said that he also sought the help of the Central Visayas office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to address concerns on their town’s excess production which is pegged at 10 tons per day. / dcb

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