Agri expert says citrus bus vendors hurting industry
by Ben Moses Ebreo
Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (January 6) -- The indiscriminate harvesting and selling of citrus products by bus vendors is one of the major blocks in promoting the quality of the product among prospective local and foreign investors in the country.
"Bus vendors, in their intention to compete with citrus store and stall owners usually harvest citrus earlier than its proper season, thereby lowering the acceptability and quality standards of our local products," said Vivien Delos Santos, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division Chief of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Cagayan Valley.
Delos Santos made the call during the recent Investment Conference (ICON) on the citrus industry in Cagayan Valley in December 2009 at the FTM Food Plaza in this town.
She said the practice of bus vendors in competing with their local traders has become detrimental to the country's bid to promote and raise the level of standards of the citrus product in the global market.
The agriculture experts also added that the bus vendors also serve as contributory factors in generating marketing loses among legitimate citrus businessmen "who are paying their taxes to the government."
Citrus varieties in this region are harvested from June to December each year in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Quirino and Cagayan.
Based on the recent study, the provinces of Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino ranked 3rd, 9th and 10th respectively among the top 10 mandarin producing provinces in the country; Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela ranked 5th and 8th among the top 10 producing provinces of citrus oranges while Cagayan province places 6th on the top 10 producing provinces of Calamansi in metric tons.
In the global market, Philippines only contributes 1 percent of the 100 percent share of Asia compared with China who dominates the contribution at 69 percent, Japan at 12 percent, Thailand at 7 percent, Indonesia at 4 percent, Korea at 4 percent and Vietnam at 3 percent.
Delos Santos also cited other issues confronting the citrus industry in the country such as the presence of graft and insect-transmissible diseases, inadequate supply of quality planting materials, few private nurseries following the system of producing quality plant materials, inadequate support for disease indexing laboratories, citrus nursery accreditation and plant material certification scheme, low priority for citrus Research, Development & Extension (R,D,&E), predominantly "backyard" production system and Influx of imported citrus fruits. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]