FARMERS in Northern Luzon dumped about 6,000 kilograms of tomatoes not because of oversupply but because of non-arrival of buyers, who were barred from entering the area due to “no vaccination, no entry” policies enforced by local government units (LGUs) in certain checkpoints.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) explained that the reason behind the unsold tomatoes of a farmer named Enza Aguinao of Tubeng, Ap-apid in Tinoc, Ifugao was the stringent implementation of no vaccination, no entry policy in various checkpoints by LGUs.

The DA added that this was according to Ifugao provincial agriculturist Dr. Domingo Mariano, as affirmed by Diego Madino, a stall owner at the Nueva Vizcaya Agriculture Terminal (NVAT). Madino said that about 6 metric tons (MT) of tomatoes were dumped in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya due to lack of buyers.

“The Regional High-Value Crops Management Program reported that Aguinao was able to earn a gross income of P800,000,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

“However, last week, she brought home 2 MT of unsold small and ripe tomatoes from her latest harvest. She returned it to her farm, which is the normal practice in the area where it was plowed back,” it added.

Citing NVAT, the DA said the price of tomatoes has plunged to P10 per kilogram in the past week from P40 per kilogram.

“For next week, DA-CAR has coordinated with the Ateneo Manila and the Rural Rising wherein they will be buying 1.5 MT, and 4 MT of tomatoes, respectively,” it said.

“As a way forward, the agency will coordinate with the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) and the LGU to use KADIWA trucks for the transporting and marketing of tomatoes, and coordinate with the DA-AMAS to look for more markets,” it added.

The DA noted that the DA-CAR assisted a total volume of 58,991 MT of tomatoes from the municipality of Tinoc with a total value of P507,467 last year.

“This year, a total of 71,563 MT with a total value of P641,947 was linked, transported, and marketed to NCR,” it said, noting that tomato is one of the high-value cash crops.

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