Huge Market for Veggies in Mindanao

Mar. 29, 2006

By Prix Banzon
Philippine Information Agency

DAVAO CITY — Theres a huge market for vegetables in Mindanao and yet farmers produce the product for the Luzon area.

This was the observation made by Dante Sarraga, Jr., executive vice president of the Philippine Vegetable Industry Development Board during the Club 888 Forum at The Marco Polo Hotel yesterday.

Sarraga said if the vegetable produce are marketed within Mindanao, farmers will earn more instead of the products shipped to Manila where the transport time run up to 52 hours and have to l wait for 70 days to get paid.

If transaction is done here mas madali kasi kaliwaan lang yan, you deliver the product and get paid immediately, he said.

Although Sarraga said their Luzon market has already been established and Mindanao market still need to be developed.

Department of Agriculture regional technical director Romeo Falcon said there is low consumption of vegetable here.

He said there is a need to improve on this aspect because aside from the health benefit, it will also improve the economy.

Sarraga who is also a member of the Normin Veggies said that their area supply about 70 percent of the requirements of the entire Mindanao even as he said that they (Normin Veggies) corner 70 percent of the market share in Metro Manila.

There is really market for vegetables and there is money in it, he said.

He said that from June to December 2005 alone, they were able to produce 1.3 million metric tons of vegetables.

About 60 tons of their produce are being shipped weekly to Manila while six tons are supplied to Davao area, he said.

He said that when they transport their produce to Zamboanga then to Sandakan, Malaysia it would only take them 27 hours which is a shorter route than the one in Manila.

Sarraga meanwhile said that despite the cold chain, they also experience wastage but on a smaller volume.

He said three years ago they could only achieve recovery of production at about 40 percent compared to the current new technology with recovery production of 85 to 90 percent.

He however said that corrections must be made in the system inorder to come up with only one scheme for the island of Mindanao.

Meanwhile, Roger Gualberto, president of the Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao, Inc. said they need to consolidate the vegetable producers of the island.

He admitted however that the traders are more organized than the producers and these traders are the once dictating the price of vegetables.

These traders even go up to the Kapatagan vegetable area in Digos, Davao del Sur to purchase the farmers produce directly based on their (traders) price.

He said there is also the need to consolidate the producers in order to get better price and share in the market.

The demand of vegetables in the local and global markets are also increasing and the producers have realized the need to shift from their traditional fragmented vegetable farm production system to highly competitive farm operations.

He said the clustering system is the most ideal approach in facilitating a market-driven produce.

This will also lead to understanding basic customer requirements and preferences in terms of price, quality, service delivery and other competitive benefits, he said.

Clustering strategy will be the focus in the coming 4th National Vegetable congress. The theme for this year is Vegetable Cluster Farming: An Agribusiness for Domestic and Global Markets.

The congress will be held on April 26-28, 2006 at the Davao Convention and Trade Center where two important activities will happen, first, is the field tour at barangay Kapatagan in Digos City and in Salumay, Marilog District and in Manambulan, Tugbok all in Davao City. The other is the congress proper where it will carry three sessions and each session will present lectures to be handled by reliable industry experts.

There will also be sharing of best practices on vegetable production, post-harvest handling, cold chain technologies and marketing, clustering of farmers/farms to market competitiveness of small producers, and review of the vegetable industry strategic plans as well as strengthen private sector and government partnership in the development of a competitive Philippine vegetable industry.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban will be the guest speaker. (PIA/pdbanzon)

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