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. This story was published as part of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship under Rappler.