OVERSUPPLY OF VEGETABLES PROMPTS FARMERS' CALL

Appeal to Cebu City gov’t: Reopen farmer’s market

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | May 27,2021 - 05:41 PM
Farmers display their produce at the farmer's market at an area near the Cebu City Hall in this February 2017 photo. | Cebu City PIO file photo

Farmers display their produce at the farmer’s market at an area near the Cebu City Hall in this February 2017 photo. | Cebu City PIO file photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Around 56 farmers in Cebu City uplands is sincerely appealing to Mayor Edgardo Labella to reopen the farmers’ market or “tabo” at Plaza Sugbo with the overproduction of vegetables this season.

City Agriculuture Officer, Engineer Joey Baclayon, told CDN Digital that the prices of high value vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, and eggplant had dropped significantly.

Last week, some of these vegetables were priced at P2 to P5 per kilo, rendering the farmers unable to make profit especially with third-party traders involved.

Baclayon said third-party traders had made it difficult for the farmers to earn because they would control the prices of the vegetables.

The City Agricultural Department (CAD) is trying to help the farmers reach the markets through privately partnered farmers’ markets in malls, but these expos are limited to only 10 farmers at a time.

The CAD has provided vehicles to the farmers as well to help them get their goods down to the urban markets. Still, the CAD believes reopening the weekly farmer’s markets will help the farmers gain more profit amid these trying times.

“Ang purpose nato is makabaligya atong mag-uuma, mas mapaduol nato sila sa consumer,” said Baclayon.

(Our purpose is for the farmers to sell their produce and they will be nearer to the consumer.)

However, in a press conference on Thursday, May 27, 2021, Mayor Edgardo Labella expressed his concern that reopening the farmers’ market at Plaza Sugbo may cause unnecessary crowd gathering.

He said that for now, it must be still be studied if the farmers’ market would be the best move for the city.

“That needs to be carefully studied because the President recently said to avoid crowd gathering. I think kanang tabo maka cause nag crowd gathering (I think this ‘farmer’s market’ can cause crowd gathering),” said the mayor.

Baclayon, for his part, said he would continue to appeal for the reopening of the farmers’ market with additional input on social distancing protocol.

He suggests a one-way movement of consumers with a one-entry-one-exit policy. Farmers will be placed on shifts as well so as to limit the number of farmers selling per day.

The farmers’ market would only open from Wednesday to Friday or Thursday to Friday so as to limit the number of days that it will be operating.

Baclayon hopes that Labella would reconsider his decision as the farmers need the assistance now.

He added that with the lack of food supply, bringing fresh and affordable goods from the city’s own farms would also help address the hunger problems in the city.

/dbs

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TAGS: Cebu City, City Health Department, farmers, Farmers Market, Plaza Sugbo

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