1st veggie summit to tackle organic farming
by RG Alama
Davao City (5 March) -- Organic farming will be among the pressing issues to be tackled in the First National Vegetables Marketing Summit to be held in Davao City this April 22 to 23.
Guesting at the Club 888 media forum last Wednesday (March 4) at the Marco Polo Davao, Roger Gualberto, Program Executive Director of the Vegetable Industry Council for Southern Mindanao (VICSMIN) said that the event will gather about 500 vegetable farmers, producers and buyers from Northern Luzon to Tawi-Tawi.
Gualberto said that among the things to be tackled is the advocacy for organic method or non-conventional farming. He said almost all veggie farmers are dependent on chemicals as a result they cannot supply discriminating customers particularly the export market that prefer organic chemical free vegetables.
He cited that many hotels and other first-class restaurants in the city import their vegetable supplies from Australia.
Gualberto a practicing organic farmer in his farm in Kapatagan Digos City said that organic vegetable farmers earn higher margin of profit. However he sees problem in advocating the shift to non-conventional methods since people are used to prefer clean-looking vegetables courtesy of chemicals.
He said this is the reason that vegetable farmers cannot penetrate the export market and see agricultural lands being converted to monocrop plantations like banana and mangoes because the vegetable farmers cannot supply quantity-wise and quality-wise the export market because of their chemical-dependent farming method.
Aside form organic farming; the summit also seeks to address the vegetable supply problem. Some areas like Davao City have oversupply of vegetables leading to unstable prices for growers while other areas have supply problems leading to high vegetable prices greatly affecting consumers.
Citing a 2004 studies from the University of Philippines-Mindanao, Gualberto said that Davao City consumes around 288 tons of vegetables a day. Farmers in Davao are estimated to produce less than 300 tons, however there is excess in supply because growers from Cotabato and Bukidnon transport their produce to Davao City.
The summit in particular aims to bridge growers and buyers of vegetables, particularly the buyers who are looking for supply and growers who are looking for buyers. (PIA XI) [top]