Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Community market good model for farmers

Community market good model for farmers
By Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News
June 01, 2010

Cebu's first community market looks like a good model to duplicate nationwide under the government’s Bagsakan Program, an official said.

Local farmers display their fresh produce in a 2,000-square-meter area in Bridges Town Center in Plaridel Street, Mandaue City.

With no middle man to jack up prices, the vegetables and poultry are available at prices that match those in wet markets.

Francisco A. Ramos III, director of agribusiness and marketing assistance service of the Department of Agriculture, was optimistic about the Kumprahan Supermerkado in Mandaue City, which had a grand Farmer’s Day last Saturday.

“This is a very good model of a community market. We will be monitoring the developments so that whatever success we have here, we can duplicate in other areas,” Ramos said during his visit.

Organizers headed by Jon Ramos helped local farmers gain direct market access by providing them space free of rent.

“We have designated wet market nationwide and most of these areas have rental fees like P300 per day and P50,000 for three to five years, which is a contract fee which often discourages farmers from selling their produce themselves. They focus instead on production alone and leave the selling to the middle men, who often control the prices,” said Ramos.

The DA has campaigns to encourage farmers to sell and market their produce and allocated P500 million from 2009 until this year, for community markets nationwide, with at least P22 million for Central Visayas, said Ramos.

Ramos said the community market designed like Kumprahan, which ties up with NGOs and farmers groups, would complement these efforts.

One partner is the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) which linked up at least 2,000 member farmers in various cooperatives.

“Our farmer cooperatives who are here right now are Toong Farmer Association, Binaliw Farmer Association, Batallion Irrigation Association, Babag Sibugay United Farmers Association, and Barangay Unit Key for Integrated Development,” said Jessie Cubijano, OIC of PBSP Visayas last Saturday.

Starting May 29, fresh produce of local farmers will be available in the market in Bridges Town Center.

Rely Tanod-Tanod, a farmer from Carcar City, said joining the community market was a big help.

“Nakasuway man jud mi anang sa Carbon og sa uban pa nga lugar nga magdali-dali mi og panghipos kada buntag kay gabii ra man mi hangtod kadlawn pwede mamaligya sa dalan ra para dili mi pangdakpon (We’ve tried selling in Carbon Market in Cebu City. We have to hurriedly remove our products from the street to avoid being arrested because we’re only allowed to display products from early evening to early morning),” she said.