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Mindanao growers ship more veggies to Visayas and Luzon

March 19, 2010


January 1, 2010, 7:09pm

CAGAYAN DE ORO — Three growers’ associations have reported a 75 percent increase in their shipments of vegetables to Cebu and other markets in Visayas and Luzon.

The annual aggregate vegetable out-shipment by these groups increased from 2,700 metric tons (MT) in 2007 to 4,730 metric tons last year or about 90 MT weekly, according to USAID’s Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program.

“The market has begun to recognize the capabilities of vegetable growers here and the fact that we can maintain production even during bad weather in other parts of the country,” said Jovic Santos, president of the Central Mindanao Vegetable Industry Development Council (CEMVIDEC).

CEMVIDEC has more than 350 members cultivating 400 hectares. The Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao (VICSMIN), on the one hand, has 800 members with a production area of more than 650 hectares.

The largest of the three groups is the Northern Mindanao Vegetable Producers Association (NorMinVeggies) with 7,000 growers cultivating more than 3,000 hectares in Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon. It supplies more than 70 MT of assorted vegetables weekly to Luzon and Visayas.

Through the NorMin Vegetable Consolidation Center alone, the group ships at least 5 MT of assorted semi-temperate vegetables weekly to institutional buyers in Cebu.

“Buyers like these require large volumes of consistently high quality vegetables, and growers here have proven that they can deliver,” said Marcelino Remotigue, NorMin Veggies president.

On one hand, CEMVIDEC has shipped approximately 64 MT of assorted vegetables to Luzon from October to mid-November last year. It also hosted the  National Vegetable Congress in General Santos City in July. Santos said that participants from other parts of the country were “surprised by how well-organized the growers were in different areas in Mindanao.”

“We expected about 500 participants, but about 700 to 800 attended, representing 11 regions. They visited our farms and could see we are practically at par with growers in Luzon in terms of quality and sustainability. It was a good marketing opportunity,” Santos added.

VICSMIN, on the other hand, has established a supply agreement with a Leyte wholesaler last year when it conducted its first market exploration tour of the province, with support from GEM, said Ray Acain, its president.

In fact its affiliate Davao del Norte Vegetable Industry Development Council (DNVIDC) weekly ships at least 10 MT of sayote and pinakbet veggies squash, eggplant, okra, bitter gourd and others to the province.

Even new groups such as the Zamboanga del Norte Hi-Green Farmers Association and the Caraga Vegetable Growers Association are expanding their production for the Visayas market. And vegetable producers are also supplying larger scale food manufacturers such as tuna canners based in General Santos City that need huge volumes of sweet pepper, carrots, and other vegetable ingredients.

However, their problem now, said Remotigue, is that they “need more farm-to-market roads and better access to financing for growers” and they “have to step up marketing.”

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