Low prices leave Benguet vegetables rotting

BAGUIO, Philippines – At this time of the year, the agriculture story in Benguet would be about frost nipping at cabbage and other vegetables.

Instead, the untold stories are more chilling. At the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) and the La Trinidad Trading Post, there are long lines of vegetable trucks waiting to unload their produce – only to be told that the prices are too low. Some had turned back and just unloaded their products on the road. 

In the municipalities of Buguias and Atok, farmers can be seen shoveling their carrots on the precipices along the road. Some just left sacks of rotting vegetables on the road.

At the BAPTC, the selling price for farmers for carrots are P20 to P26 a kilo for large, and as low as P5 for medium. A month ago, carrots were bought at BAPTC for as high as P35 a kilo.

The rest of the vegetables are priced as follows:

Prices at the Baguio market are slightly higher but still dirt cheap.

A farmer’s daughter even wrote an open letter to the agriculture secretary about their dire situation. 

“Some farmers even went back home with their vegetables, rotten and untouched. Bankrupt but need to pay for the hauling of those vegetables and the wages of those who harvested it. They're getting bankrupt and you're nowhere to be found! The farmers will fend for themselves and NO HELP extended to get back on track,” she said.

“It pains me to see loads of vegetables being sent back to the field and be thrown when there are people who are struggling to put food on the table,” said Benguet miner Eric Alvarado.

“Anybody who can help us maybe with setting up a food donation stall around the area? With this much food wastage, we can probably feed more people in Itogon,” he added. – Rappler.com