THE country’s consumers, notably the poor, want to believe that the government is capable of bringing down the prices of vegetables and other food items in Metropolitan Manila (MM).
This, the government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA), will do by flooding the heavily-populated metropolis with cheap but fresh vegetables and fruits from Mindanao.
If prices of vegetables and other food items continue to spiral beyond the reach of the poor, blame it on profiteers, manipulators and middlemen, according to DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
Piñol expects profiteering to come to an end since the department has started to flood the National Capital Region with fruits and vegetables from Bukidnon, Davao and Cotabato.
Last week, fresh vegetables and fruits from Mindanao were sold at the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) office in Malate, Manila and at the Department of Agriculture main office in Quezon City.
And every week, at least six refrigerated container vans loaded with vegetables from Mindanao will arrive in Manila.
“If the profiteers and vultures believe that this is just temporary, then they are in for a big shock,” according to Piñol, a former newspaperman and one-time governor of North Cotabato.
In fact, the DA Agribusiness and Marketing Office has arranged a business matching between farmers from Mindanao, including a group of Aeta farmers from Central Luzon, and direct buyers,
Direct buyers include homeowners cooperatives, market vendors associations and grocery stores. The arrangement will effectively cut out traders and middlemen and establish a direct link between food producers and consumers.
We share the view of the DA secretary and other well-meaning public servants that there’s a need to teach profiteering traders and greedy middlemen a lesson, which is “never mess with government.”