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Farmers in Ifugao, N. Vizcaya ask for aid as tomatoes go to waste due to oversupply


The mayor of Tinoc, Ifugao and some farmers on Monday appealed for President Rodrigo Duterte to extend assistance to their community as they struggle with an oversupply of tomatoes.

According to Jonathan Andal’s report on “24 Oras,” the price of tomatoes dropped dramatically to only P2 to P5 per kilo from the previous P15 to P20 due to a lack of buyers after the supply chain was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

For several weeks now, netizens have reported seeing piles of tomatoes dumped on the side of the road or in vacant lots in Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya.

In Ifugao, farmers decided not to harvest almost 20 tons of tomatoes.

“Masakit sa pakiramdam ng farmer na ganoon ang mangyari. Dapat ‘yung gobyerno, parang sila ang kumukuha ng gulay namin, sila ang magbenta,” tomato farmer Samuel Sinak-ay said.

“‘Yon ang hinihintay namin, ‘yung sure aid na sinasabi ni Presidente Duterte na may sure aid sa mga farmers kaya ‘yun ang hinihintay namin para may pang-kapital muli,” Celso Biniahan added, referring to the government’s P25,000 loan for farmers payable in 10 years with no interest.

Tinoc farmers said they applied for the loan last year but have yet to receive the money.

“Kaya nga nagtataka kami, bakit sa Benguet, sa Mountain Province, meron na silang nai-release na pera pero sa amin wala pa,” municipal high value crop coordinator Roy Guyon said.

Agriculture Assistant Secretary Noel Reyes said they are still evaluating the list of applicants.

“Sana mai-priority naman ng ating presidente to give an assistance to our community,” Tinoc Mayor Samson Benito said.

The local governments of Tinoc and towns in Nueva Vizcaya are also asking for a processing center to turn excess tomatoes into tomato sauce and juice, among other kinds of products.

“‘Yung proposal, sinubmit na ng General Manager papunta dito sa Department of Agriculture para pag-aralan at pondohan ‘yung parang multi-processing facility… siguro by next year [feasible na],” Reyes said.

Meanwhile, a church in Ifugao has been purchasing tomatoes from farmers and giving them away to massgoers.

Nueva Vizcaya has also penalized the dumping of tomatoes in public areas. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News