Benguet farmers expose ‘oppressive system’ at La Trinidad trading post

>> Sunday, April 9, 2017

By Jenny M. Dayao        
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Farmers are still being victimized by an “oppressive system” imposed by middlemen at the trading post and public market here which they said had been going on for years.
Augusta Castaneda, president, and members of Pambansang Mannalon, Magbabaul, Mag-uuma, Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (P4MP)-Bokod, said middlemen at the areas where they deliver and sell their commodities, had been tricking and controlling them which resulted to millions of pesos lost.
She said middlemen buy their produce at very low prices. She added when there is an increase in price announced in the radio, middlemen do not follow it.
Some reportedly even tell farmers to sell their produce in radio stations. “Suda (middlemen) ti agkakakwarta (they are the ones gaining),” she said.
One farmer said, “addayu da (produce) nu agkilo da. Ket nu sumubli da bawasan da djay kilo nan (They stay away from us when they weigh our produce, and when they return, they do not declare the right volume.).”
She said farmers are aware of the estimated kilo of their produce and that five to ten kilos are deducted from estimated weight of their produce per sack.
Emilia Na-ag, an Atok farmer, said, “Ti ikasta mi nga ag-garden ditoy ket agkita kami ti pag-utangan mi. Nu adda ited djay disposer mi isu pag-utangan mi. Nu awan, apan kami adi agkita ti porsyentuen (Before planting, we usually look for individuals who can lend us capital. Usually, we borrow money from disposers. If there’s none, we look for someone who can lend money with interest).”
Amado William, a Buguias farmer said, “Utangen dagijay traders ti produkto mi, ket aguray kami pay,” adding there are times they are not immediately paid by traders of their products.
“Ti namnamaen mi nga amin nga farmers ah ket djay rigat mi met ah kuma ket makita mi nga sumayaat ti biyag mi. Ti posta ti biyag mi ket kasla agsubsubli lang rigat mi (We hope that our sweat and pains will be paid off, that our lives will become better. We are actually not gaining anything),” Na-ag said.
Farmers said they don’t have a specific market for their produce, one of the reasons why they can’t do anything when their vegetables are bought cheaply.
“Idjay marketing set-up, makita ti discrepancies; dagijay farmers suda ti agrigrigat, businessmen ti kumitkita ket suda pay ti agprespresyo (discrepancy is evident in the marketing set-up; the farmers who are working hard and the businessman who are earning more are the ones dictating the price). The farmers have been helpless with this system for a long time. Awan ti control ti farmer ijay pricing. Farmer kuma ti agpresyo ta suda ti akin ammu ti ginastos na (The farmers have no control of pricing when in fact, they should be the ones giving the price because they know their production cost),” said Jefferson Laruan, a farmer.
Ardan Copaz, Benguet AgriPinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) trading post operation management director, said the current existing trading system has many controversies, which BAPTC aims to straighten.
One of these is need for disposers or middlemen to be fair in their dealings with the farmers.

He said middlemen who control farmers and buyers will have no place at the BAPTC. 


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