LAST week, a Benguet farmer could not sell his three tons of potatoes, worth more than P100,000, so he decided to park his jeep on the wayside and just dump his potatoes on the shoulder.
But not before taking a picture of what he did and posting it on Facebook last August 3.
According to his friend, Chris Polig, it took them five days to bring their potatoes from the town of Bakun to La Trinidad because of the landslides and bad roads. The same route used to take them only four hours.
By the time they reached La Trinidad, the potatoes were already ruined.
They however harvested tons of emoticons in FB because of the photos.
The Department of Agriculture – Cordillera took notice and made its investigation.
“Photos of potatoes accordingly dumped along KM. 21, Ambassador, Tublay, Benguet have been circulating in social media, particularly on Facebook as of August 3, 2021. This was after Mr. Chris Polig, owner of the Polig Farms, took photos of the dumped potatoes located near his farm,” the DA said.
The DA, led by Addison Kyle B. La-ao of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), found out that the 1.5 tons of potatoes were harvested last July 30 by a farmer from Sinacbat, Bakun, Benguet.
“Since the potatoes were wet, the farmer stocked them from Saturday until Monday hoping that these would dry up. However, the potatoes remained wet causing them to rot slowly,” the report said.
“Potatoes can be stocked for weeks when dry but are prone to rotting when kept wet and not allowed to air dry properly especially during the rainy season,” it added.
On August 2, the potatoes were transported to the Backfill Vegetable Trading Area in KM 5, La Trinidad but were again stocked for the whole night since business transactions were to start only the following day.
“The farmer tried to dispose of the potatoes, but no buyers were willing to buy them because the goods had already developed visible signs of rotting or pagkalusaw. With his goods left unsold that day, the farmer just proceeded to a relative in Km. 21 Ambassador for a stop-by and eventually dumped the potatoes nearby, particularly along the Labey-Lacamen Road in Ambassador at around 5:00 p.m.,” the DA said.
La-ao reported that some local residents had already salvaged most of the dumped potatoes for food or animal feeds as of Tuesday evening.
Regional Technical Director for Operations Dir. Danilo P. Daguio is encouraging farmers to bring their produce to the market as soon as harvested, especially with the continuous rains happening now in the Cordilleras.
He added that the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) is now buying vegetables that are not sold at the end of the trading day with the fund capital provided by the DA for such a purpose. These sold vegetables are brought to other regions, particularly the National Capital Region where they already have set buyers.
“We have different programs in the Department with regards to marketing. We have the KADIWA Program that helps link them with buyers or we can also provide transportation to transport their products for free and deliver it to designated dropping points,” Dir. Daguio added.
He further noted that the local government units are also there as immediate partners to assist and or provide necessary assistance to the agri-fishery sectors.
Meanwhile, posting mislabelled or misinformed posts on social media is highly discouraged to prevent the further spread of fake news.