Benguet

Benguet town moves to shield farmers from sly buyers

Angel Castillo
Benguet town moves to shield farmers from sly buyers

HARVEST. A farmer works on her potato harvest in this file photo.

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The move follows reports of increased fraudulent purchases since the COVID-19 pandemic, with transactions often lacking documentation and leaving farmers vulnerable to non-payment

BAGUIO, Philippines – The La Trinidad municipal government in Benguet is proposing a new measure to better protect the town’s farmers from cunning buyers. 

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda announced on Thursday, February 2 that the town government intends to require vegetable traders and handlers to register with the municipality and post a bond.

“We want to have a system in place for the protection of our farmers,” said Salda. “This will give our farmers someone to turn to in the event they are defrauded of payment for their produce.”

Currently, there is no legislation or executive order in place regarding the registration of vegetable traders, and the local government is working to develop a suitable scheme. 

The move follows reports from farmers of increased fraudulent purchases of produce since the COVID-19 pandemic, with transactions often lacking documentation and leaving farmers vulnerable to non-payment.

Despite the reports, the overall market and produce prices for highland vegetables remain stable, according to Salda. 

Charlie Sagudan, the director of the Agricultural Training Institute-National Training Center in the Cordillera, called for the consolidation of small farmers in the region in order to better protect them from such practices.

Sagudan said the consolidation will reduce vulnerability to unfair trades, raise profits for farmers, and ensure a steadier supply of highland vegetables.

“There are no sales because, while the farmers produce good quality products, they leave the marketing to the traders who aim for higher gains,” Sagudan said. – Rappler.com

Angel Castillo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.

La Trinidad eyes veg trader registration to protect farmers

By Angel Castillo

BAGUIO, Philippines – The La Trinidad municipal government in Benguet is pushing to require vegetable traders and disposers to register with the municipality in a bid to avoid “bogus” buyers from troubling produce growers in the province.

“We want to require them to register and post a bond so that our farmers will have someone to run after in case they are defrauded of the payment of their produce. We need to have a system in place for the protection of our farmers,” Mayor Romeo Salda said on Thursday, February 2.

However, currently there is yet to be legislation or executive orders in the municipality. The local government of La Trinidad is still currently hashing out the details to develop an appropriate registration scheme for vegetable traders.

According to Salda, farmers have been reporting non-receipt of payment for their crops after “bogus” buyers acquire their products. Such buyers have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Salda said.

Such transactions often involve little to no paper trail, with some cases only having unofficial, handwritten receipts that lack any information about the buyers of the farmers’ products.

Since the transactions being reported by the farmers lack documentation, the local government is unable to aid the farmers, whose transactions with bogus buyers are often verbal or through text only and therefore lacking in helpful information for the pursuit of reparations and penalties.

While there are reports of fraudulent purchases of produce levied by the farmers in the province, the overall market and produce prices for highland vegetables is stable, Salda said.

Agricultural Training Institute-National Training Center Cordillera director Charlie Sagudan meanwhile sought for the consolidation of the small farmers in the region in order to better protect them from such predatory practices.

Individual and smaller farming businesses are more vulnerable to unfair trades and supply fluctuations, as they are more subject to the discretion of the traders that purchase their produce for sale and distribution in the market.

According to Sagudan, consolidation would leave farmers in the region less vulnerable to unfair trades, raise profits for the farmers, and ensure a steadier supply of highland vegetables.

“There are no sales because while the farmers produce good quality products, they leave the marketing to the trader that aims for higher gains,” Sagudan said.

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