CRAVING for fruits? Shop at the Department of Agriculture (DA) central office in Quezon City where fresh fruits are sold directly by farmers.
The DA will launch today the night market where farmers can sell their produce directly to consumers. On December 1, Mindanao fruits like durian, pomelo, marang, mangosteen, lanzones and many more will be sold.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the Christmas Night Fruit Market is the DA’s response to the complaint of fruit farmers that middlemen and traders are forcing them to sell their produce for a song because of alleged oversupply.
He said producers of Lacatan bananas claimed that they are being offered P15 per kilo from a high of P27 per kilo.
Pomelo farmers from Davao are also angry because their produce, which used to fetch up to P50 per kilo, are now being bought only for P15 a kilo.
“The traders are saying that there is an oversupply of fruits, a reason which I do not buy because I know for a fact that bananas from Mindanao are sold for as high as P75 per kilo in Baler, Aurora,” Pinol said.
“Personally, I am offended by this brazen exploitation of our farmers who produce highly perishable products, and this is plain and simple price manipulation,” he added.
“I hope that this project will send a clear message to the traders and middlemen that the Department of Agriculture will do everything it could to protect the interests of the small farmers,” he said. “While I believe that traders and middlemen play an important role in the trading and commerce of agricultural products as they have been since Bibilical times, I cannot allow them to be so powerful that they literally have in their grips the poor farmers who work under the sun.” JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL