Bringing down prices of vegetablesBy Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The late Interior Secretary Jessie Robredo is Inquirer’s Filipino of the Year for 2012.
It’s a pity he’s already gone and can’t appreciate the accolade.
Robredo is the only other nonliving Pinoy, apart from actor Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004, to receive the award.
Robredo’s “tsinelas” (slippers) brand of leadership endeared him to the citizenry, especially the slippers-wearing masses. The late secretary loved to wear slippers even outside his house.
Many say he would have become our next President in 2016.
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President Noy says that weather permitting, the Philippines will not only be self-sufficient in rice soon, but it may also export the staple commodity before the end of this year.
The country used to be the world’s biggest importer of rice.
So let’s all pray for good weather.
Credit goes to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala whose constant dialogue and good rapport with rice farmers have produced results.
Alcala is the only agriculture chief, apart from the late Agriculture Minister Arturo Tanco Jr., who has made rice plentiful in the country that it may soon be an exporter of the commodity.
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Alcala deserves the title of “food czar” for bringing down not only the price of rice, but also that of vegetables because of their steady supply in the market.
The price of a commodity goes down when it is readily available in the market.
The agriculture secretary is trying to eliminate the middleman—and is slowly succeeding—by helping set up food terminals in many parts of the country.
These food terminals buy food harvests directly from the farmers based on the current wholesale prices of the products.
The middleman buys cheap from the farmers and sells high to food outlets.
The elimination of the middleman will greatly reduce food prices.
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Helping the aggie chief in eliminating the middleman is Leah Cruz, president of the Vegetable Importers, Exporters and Vendors Association of the Philippines (Vieva).
Vieva, upon Alcala’s encouragement, has set up farmers’ groups from whom it buys vegetables and rice at the current market price.
It also educates farmers on the best way to grow vegetables and rice through organic farming.
Organic farming does away with the use of commercial fertilizer, which has been found to be toxic to humans and eventually makes the soil infertile.
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Vieva, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, has set up demonstration or pilot farms using the organic method.
I have volunteered my farm in Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, as Vieva’s demonstration farm.
Vieva’s aim, also upon Secretary Alcala’s encouragement, is to make Palawan province self-sufficient in vegetables and eventually an exporter.
At present, Palawan imports its vegetables from Iloilo province and Manila.
That’s the reason vegetables in Palawan are much more expensive than fish and seafood, which it exports.
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Clients of Globe Telecom complain of dropped calls and the lack of a signal, but which are charged to clients.
In short, Globe clients pay for the company’s inefficient service.
A Globe client myself, I notice Globe gives a good signal only a few hours every month, yet the company charges its clients in full.
If Globe continues to ignore the public outcry for a more efficient service, then let’s all switch to its rival network.
Let’s stop becoming victims of highway robbery by Globe.
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