May 31, 2009 in Cordillera
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Major food chains in the country are in the cross-hairs for a Department of Agriculture (DA) organized dry-run order system for temperate vegetables produced in the Cordillera, DA regional officials disclosed here Friday.
Food chain stalwarts Jollibee, McDonalds and Max’s are likely to post orders for bell pepper, tomatoes, lettuce and carrots once the supplies pass the set standards for quality, volume and the agreed schedule, for the dry-run delivery which is poised for June, according to DA Agri-business Division Chief Patricio Ananayo.
Ananayo and Dir. Gerry Baliang of DA-CAR faced the media who waited for the aborted teleconference of Benguet farmers and DA Sec. Arthur Yap at the La Trinidad Trading Post Friday morning. The teleconference that also included farmers and fisherfolk from other regions did not reach the waiting farmers due to technical problems.
According to Ananayo, Yap was to talk simultaneously with farmers and suppliers in choice regions for the market linkages and expected to get instant results from the teleconference.
The Benguet Farmers’ Multi-purpose Cooperative would represent some 100 vegetable producers from Benguet towns, including Bauko in Mountain Province and Tinoc in Ifugao.
The possible contract with the food chains would entail a change in the farming methods and the farmers’ attitude towards the high-end market, according to Baliang.
“It will require systematic crop programs to meet the market demand for such vegetables,” said Baliang. He added some improvement in farming technology has to be installed to do away with supply problems.
The test deliveries will assure the food chains of the quality and the needed quantity of vegetables on demand.
In the past, local potatoes went through a similar process, but these did not pass the required quality for French fries, said Ananayo.
High-end markets require higher standards, good agricultural practice and acceptable technologies, according to Ananayo. It would answer for some 30% of the total vegetable produced in the region, he added. The rest would still go to the wet market.
Ananayo is confident Cordillera produce will pass the toxicity test because, he claims, many farmers have been into the integrated pest management program and are now mostly engaged in organic farming. Without mentioning numerical values, he added the DA test for toxicity yielded a much reduced chemical residue levels, compared to previous years.# nordis.net