BAGUIO CITY, May 4(PIA) - Cordillera farmers are innately generous. Even if they are losing due to low prices brought about by oversupply or transport concerns from the farms to the markets due to landslides and other circumstances, they are still happy to share their produce. They have proven their generosity in many instances not only in the region but in other calamity-affected areas in the country.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, vegetable farmers in the Cordillera Region are also affected especially with the implementation of enhanced community quarantine that have imposed travel restrictions affecting the delivery of their produce to the different markets in Manila and others areas outside the region.
Yet since the health crisis started in March 2020, Agot Balanoy, Benguet Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative Manager and who also represents the League of Associations of the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, said their organizations composed of farmers, traders, truckers and other stakeholders, have donated more than 70 tons of assorted highland vegetables to the different communities, as well as those affected by the typhoon in the Cagayan Valley Region in November last year.
Several other farmers groups and associations as well as individuals in the agriculture sector in the region, have also been donating their produce to the public to help others in this time of crisis.
She noted that sharing what they is part of the culture of the people in the Cordillera in taking care of their fellow individuals particularly those who are burdened.
Now with the popular community pantries being set up mostly by non government organizations, Balanoy has an appeal in behalf of the farmers.
"The farmers would appreciate it so much if bibilhin ng mga community pantry organizers at iba pang nag dodonate ng gulay mula sa mga farmers at ito ang ipamimigay sa mga pantries at activities nila," she said.
Balanoy said that many groups and organizations conducting similar donation drive activities and organizers of the now trending community pantries have been asking free vegetable donations from farmers and traders particularly in the province of Benguet.
It would be a great help to the vegetable farmers if the different groups and individuals holding and conducting community pantries and donation drives buy their produce to also provide or give back to the farmers even a portion of what they spent in producing and growing their vegetables.
"To the public particularly doing donations and relief, we would appreciate much if bibilhin nila ang mga gulay mula sa mga farmers at ito ang ipamimigay sa mga pantries and relief operations nila," Balanoy said.
"Huwag sana masyadong libre lahat, kahit konti let us give back to the farmers," she added.
She explained that until now most of the end markets of highland vegetables such as hotels, resorts, restaurants and other establishments are still closed contributing to the loss of farmers.
It is good that some local government units are buying some produce of farmers as part of their relief assistance to their residents and other communities to support the survival of people during these trying times. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)