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DA pushes for cropping calendar amid tomato wastage

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is pushing for a cropping calendar across the country, in a bid to ensure that there is no wastage as farmers have been throwing out produce due to oversupply.

According to Agriculture Undersecretary for Consumer and Political Affairs Kristine Evangelista, a cropping calendar will prevent an oversupply as farmers will know which produce to plant and where.

“If we have a cropping calendar, we can already look for buyers bago pa po mag-harvest ang ating mga magsasaka [even before our farmers harvest],” she said in Jonathan Andal's Sunday report on “24 Oras Weekend.”

“At the same time, we can also properly guide ‘yung ating magsasaka [our farmers],” she added.

This comes after a report that tomatoes were thrown out by a farmer in Bukidnon due to the oversupply in the area. Prices have also gone down given the lack of buyers.

Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that tomato production already declined by 6.1% to 90,000 metric tons in the first quarter of the year from 95,870 metric tons in the same quarter last year.

Moving forward, the DA said it is prepared to provide grants for cooperatives to acquire the proper facilities to process agricultural produce and turn them into such products as sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, or tomato juice.

“‘Pag sinabi nila na puwedeng gawing [If they say that it can be made into] sun-dried tomatoes, ‘di ba [right], from our point of view, so how do we do it?” Evangelista said.

“We have to give them the facility, to the cooperative, para makagawa sila ng [so they can process] sun-dried tomato. We have to make sure that marunong sila gumawa [they know who to make] sun-dried tomato,” she continued.

The DA said cooperatives can coordinate with regional field offices of the agency to avail of the grants. — Jon Viktor Cabuenas/DVM, GMA News