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HARVEST OF TOWNS UNDER LOCKDOWN

Nueva Ecija farmers seek buyers for 400 tons of squash

/ 04:47 AM May 25, 2020

WANTED: BUYERS “Let us not allow the squash to rot,” says Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Emily Padilla. —PHOTO COURTESY OF EMILY PADILLA

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Philippines — Close to 400 tons of squash harvested in several towns under lockdown to check the spread of the new coronavirus in Nueva Ecija province are waiting to be sold in markets as restricted movements of goods prevent farmers from selling their produce.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Emily Padilla said the government was seeking market links to help the farmers sell the “mountains of squash” they had harvested.

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The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has already helped them sell more than 36 tons of squash at P7.50 to P10 a kilo out of the 390 tons harvested in the towns of Zaragoza and Licab, said Padilla, who visited the farmers, who are beneficiaries of the government’s land reform program, on Saturday.

In General Natividad town, Mayor Anita Arocena also asked the DAR to find buyers for another 5 tons of squash.

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Padilla said the department had already sold tons of squash to various vegetable stores, including Dizon Farms, Mr. Gulay and Rural Rising.

The local government of Zaragoza bought 280 tons of squash from the farmers. “Please help us. Let us not allow the squash to rot,” Padilla said.

Direct to consumersCrispulo Bautista Jr., Department of Agriculture director for Central Luzon, said the agency was also helping the farmers sell their crops directly to consumers through its agribusiness and marketing assistance division.

“Because of this initiative, the total earned value of farmers and suppliers has reached P432,190 with a total volume of 125.1 metric tons,” Bautista said.

Gov. Aurelio Umali said trucks owned by the provincial food council could be used by the farmers for free to transport their harvest.

Umali also donated food packs to 250 farmers in Zaragoza.

Cabanatuan City Mayor Myca has reached out to squash farmers in Zaragoza and Aliaga town, buying their harvest and adding this to the relief goods distributed by Rep. Rosanna Vergara for her “Kalinga Para sa Distrito” charity drive. —ARMAND GALANG INQ

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Department of Agrarian Reform, Emily Padilla, Nueva Ecija farmers, unsold squash
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