Around 37.5 tons of the tomatoes from Tinoc, Ifugao was sold from June 4-15, 2020 through the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Administrative Region’s (DA-CAR) KADIWA Ni Ani at Kita Program.

There were11 private buyers of tomato namely Rural Rising PH, Golden Shine Corps, Daisy Duran, Maryknoll Sisters, Ms. Merlan Megan, and other buyers passionately facilitated by RTD Jennilyn Dawayan. These buyers were directly linked with farmers in the region have been continuously buying different kinds of agricultural produce including tomatoes. Last June 13 & 15, 2020, the Rural Rising managed by Mr. Ace Estrada bought a total of 15,000 kilograms kg of tomatoes, the Golden Shine Corps bought 5000 kg last June 9,10,11 and 13.

8,000 kg were also bought by Ms. Ragan on June 13 & 15, 2020. Daisy Duran bought 7000 kilos on June 11 & 15,2020 and 1000 kg bought by Ms. Marilou Reyes and Ms. Edhel Bautista on June 15, 2020.

Likewise, the DA-CAR facilitated the transportation of the sold tomatoes to its destination. The linkage and transport system initiatives seek to further assist the farmers especially the tomato farmers who are currently experiencing the lack of buyers.

Diamante Max F1 is the variety of tomatoes mostly grown in the said municipality. Fruits are high round, a firm with excellent transportability and storability. It is generally consumed as fresh.

Mr. Estrada, co-founder of Rural Rising PH, said that the Rural Rising PH FaceBook Page was created to help the distressed and marginalized farmers sell their produce at the right price.

Mr. Estrada said that the DA-CAR through the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) has called their attention due to the lack of buyers which they responded immediately by offering to buy tons of tomatoes.

Buyers of marketed produce by Rural Rising PH are members of the Facebook Page. Accordingly, many of their buyers utilize the produce by donating to feeding programs, frontliners, and informal settlers.

“It’s a pleasure in my own humble way to help my fellow Cordillerans especially the farmers,” he added.

Rural Rising is planning to put up a drying facility to produce tomato powder and dried tomatoes including carrot and bell pepper powder. This is to save the dumping of vegetable produce which cannot be sold. He is collaborating with the Taiwan group of companies to set up the project. This could be a project of the rural women and could also be charged under the gender and development fund of the LGUS and the NGAs assisting the farmers.

Meanwhile, Sherwin Sinak-ey, tomato farmer from Brgy. Ap-apid, Tinoc said that they are grateful to the buyers that were linked by the Department to buy their vegetable produce.

Mr. Sinak-ey said that with restrictions of travel brought by the enhanced community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they experienced difficulty in marketing their produce. With the Department’s program, their transportation cost is reduced and the price is right to sell their produce in order for them to recover from their losses.

“We with my fellow farmers are hoping that this program will continue to help more farmers to market their vegetable produce,” he stressed.

Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita provides farmers and consumers an opportunity where farmers could sell their vegetables and consumers could buy fresh veggies near their home at a cheaper cost.

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Photo Courtesy: Memory I. Nehyeban Ace Estrada Maricar Labi