Divisoria clean-up leaves P8-M worth of vegetables unsold in Benguet

  • Nearly 400,000 kilograms of vegetables could be left rotten in La Trinidad, Benguet
  • The vegetables were not picked up after the City of Manila intensified its clean-up operations in Divisoria
  • Market observers said that the situation in Benguet could leave a long-term impact on the livelihood of farmers

Farm traders in Benguet are fearful that an enormous amount of food could be left rotten when Divisoria-based sellers did not pick up nearly 400,000 kilograms of vegetables at the La Trinidad Trading Post on Thursday, after the City of Manila intensified its sidewalk cleanup drive last week.

In an article published by Coconuts Manila on August 5, 2016, it was disclosed that the vegetables, which amount to P8 million, should have been en route to Manila at around 7 a.m.

“Hindi bumili ‘yung mga taga Divisoria [The ones from Divisoria did not buy],” said Arnel Paayas, a trader from Buguias, Benguet who expected to sell four tons of potato on that day.

According to Agot Balanoy, manager of the Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative, local entrepreneurs from La Trinidad did not know about the clean-up operations in Manila; causing them to continue to harvest such a big amount.

“May portion dun sa Divisoria, ‘yung Recto na portion, pinasara daw ng City of Manila, ipapalinis daw saka ire-rearrange. So siyempre ‘yung mga farmers hindi rin alam na ganun ang mangyayari, so nagharvest ‘yung mga farmer [The Recto portion of Divisoria was reportedly shut down by the City of Manila for cleaning and rearrangement. Our farmers did not know that this will happen so they continued to harvest],” Balanoy said.

Meanwhile, market observers said that aside from the imminent waste of goods, the incident could pose a long-term impact on the livelihood of farmers.

Out of the 1.2 million kilograms of vegetables that were traded in La Trinidad every day, at least 41 percent are allotted to the sellers in Divisoria, Manila.