By Raymund Antonio
Concerned about the Benguet farmers who throw away truckloads of vegetables due to oversupply, Vice President Leni Robredo is looking for ways to help local farmers to market their produce.
Robredo, a former housing chief, disclosed her plan to directly link ordinary farmers to institutional markets so they would be able to sell the crops they harvested.
Her flagship anti-poverty program, Angat Buhay, links private companies and organizations with local government units and communities in need of assistance.
“Iyong problema, halimbawa sa Benguet, noong sobrang dami noong produkto, tinapon na lang kasi walang market. Ayaw po natin iyang mangyari ditto (The problem, for example in Benguet, the products were thrown away during the time there was oversupply. I don’t want that to happen here),” she said.
The Vice President visited the Kiyyangan weavers on Wednesday in Kiangan, Ifugao and observed their culture and weaving tradition. They are beneficiaries of Angat Buhay.
During the visit, the Vice President also attended the turnover of a two-classroom building and information and communication technology equipment for Duit Elementary School.
Angat Buhay partners –LBC Foundation and Philam Foundation –donated the classrooms while the ICT equipment was given by Roedl Philippines.
Robredo underscored the need to train young weavers to keep the weaving industry alive in Kiangan and secure a more profitable and sustainable livelihood.
“Iyong isa po na napansin namin, parang iyong mga weavers natin, parang mga medyo ka-edad ko na. Siguro makakabuti din na mayroong preparasyon din iyong mga kabataan for the future, para hindi mamatay iyong industry (We noticed that the weavers are of my age. It could be better if the youth will have preparation for the future so the industry will not die),” she said.
Apart from weaving, the Vice President sees a promising potential in farming in Kiangan. Its farmers have been supplying bell peppers to Jollibee after her office linked them through her anti-poverty program.
“Iyong pag-link sa ating bell pepper farmers sa Jollibee, isang hakbang iyon. Iyong coffee farmers, ganoon din, hinahanapan natin sila ng institutional market na iyong mga produkto nila puwedeng idiretso doon, para hindi nasasayang, saka hindi sila nagsa-suffer kapag bagsak-presyo (Linking bell pepper farmers to Jollibee is just one step. It’s the same with coffee farmers, we look for institutional market for them so they can directly sell their products so these will not be wasted and they will not suffer once prices drop),” she said.