Tomato glut forces farmers to dump produce at Vizcaya, Ifugao roadsides
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya –– Saddled by huge production expenses and low market prices, vegetable farmers in the provinces of Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya have been dumping small and medium-sized tomatoes at the roadsides.
On June 2, tons of tomatoes were abandoned along the roads of Tinoc town in Ifugao. A week earlier, tomatoes were also dumped at roads in the Nueva Vizcaya town of Bambang.
“The sorry sight of dumped tomatoes add to the woes of farmers,” who are suffering from the impact of the quarantine imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), said Adrian Albano, administrator of the Ifugao Highland Farmers’ Forum in a June 4 telephone interview.
The supply glut had also been attributed to “the erratic scheduling of transport of vegetables from Ifugao,” he said.
Tomatoes were priced down to P4 to P5 a kilo, which was too far from “the desirable P12 a kilo so that farmers can profit,” Albano added.
This was reflected in the June 4 transactions at the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural terminal in Bambang. Squash was sold for P6 to P7 a kilo there, while yellow ginger was purchased for P15-18 a kilo.
Farmers donated some of the crops to quarantined communities, Albano said.
The municipal governments of Aritao and Solano in Nueva Vizcaya and the governments of Ifugao’s Kiangan and Lagawe towns deployed dump trucks to fetch tomatoes that were not delivered to local markets due to size deficits, he said.
These towns got 4,000 kilos of tomatoes and 1,500 kilos of bell pepper for free, to help feed households that remain indoors, Albano said.
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