Manila TienDA for cheap vegetables regularized: DA

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Sunday the direct selling of Bukidnon farmers’ vegetable crops at lower prices at the Bureau of Plant Industry’s central office in Malate, Manila will be a regular thing every Friday andSaturday.

Under the DA’s TienDA marketing program, the weekly activity is aimed at sustaining the availability of lower-priced vegetables in Metro Manila and income for vegetable growers from Bukidnon in northern Mindanao.

“We’re inviting representatives of market vendors and homeowners’ associations, supermarket procurement officers, and others to visit TienDA, so they can meet the farmers,” Piñol told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) at the opening of the TienDA market last Friday.

He said carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, and other vegetables produced in Bukidnon’sImpasugong, Talakag, Sumilao, and Lantapan (IMTASULA) towns will be available at the TienDA market, giving the public an opportunity to buy these at lower prices.

“Vegetables there (Bukidnon) are cheap. So even if we bring these to Metro Manila, such produce can still sell at lower prices,” he said.

For instance, he cited, carrots and cauliflower, which sells at only about PHP10 and PHP15 per kilogram, respectively in Talakag.

He said staging the TienDA for Bukidnon vegetables will also enable people in Metro Manila to test for themselves the quality of IMTASULA farmers’ produce and possibly even consider going into agri-business with them as suppliers of vegetables.

“Those farmers can produce a lot. All they want is assurance of markets for what they’ll grow,” Piñol said.

The DA is eyeing IMTASULA as the country’s next vegetable basket catering to local and international markets.

It aims to craft a five-year development plan for expanding vegetable production and improving product packaging in the area to enable IMTASULA farmers to earn more and at the same time have more vegetable sources in the country, sustain supply, and stabilize prices nationwide.

The recent onslaught of Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut’) in Northern Luzon has made the delivery of vegetables from the uplands difficult, resulting in higher vegetable prices in Metro Manila and other regions in the country.

As of September 20, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said “Ompong” had left agricultural damage worth PHP14.34 billion in Regions 1, 2, 3, the Cordillera region, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) in Southern Luzon.

In Cordillera alone, the typhoon affected 171,932 farmers, the NDRRMC said.

TienDA is a marketing strategy the DA launched in Metro Manila last year to make affordable food available to Filipinos while ensuring local farmers’ income.