After having their supply rejected by middlemen due to a surplus, tomato farmers in Tinoc and Banaue, Ifugao are forced to throw away their produce according to Rural Rising, a social enterprise that supports distressed farmers, especially amid COVID-19.
Rural Rising posted the call for help on their Facebook page where they shared that about 4 tons of produce are at risk of being put to waste, greatly affecting the livelihood of these farmers.
“PLEASE, PLEASE HELP OUR TOMATO FARMERS. We have got to make a strong effort this week for the farmers. Those that plant tomatoes here in the Cordilleras, they are hurting very badly”, Rural Rising’s Ace Estrada wrote.
The group emphasized that the situation was so dire, middlemen still refused to take the supply even after farmers offered it for free.
“You know it’s bad when the middlemen force farmers to accept payment below the cost of growing vegetables. You know what a catastrophy looks like? It’s when the middleman refuses to accept the vegetable even if the farmer is offering it for FREE. That’s right, free na, ayaw na nila kunin.”
Sharing screenshots of a text exchange with one farmer, Rural Rising also posted photos of the farmer’s surplus that was in danger of being discarded.
“Ang ganda-ganda pa ng kamatis! Sayang na sayang na sayang! (The tomatoes look so good! What a waste!) And it is not just Jomar, this is just one poor hapless farmer, it’s everyone in the village that grows tomatoes, or any village between Tinoc and Banaue. It’s a swath of despair, it’s a sense of sadness that threatens to overwhelm me as I write this.”
The group is now organizing a box-all-you-can for buyers based in Metro Manila, who will receive 20 kilos of these freshly picked mountain tomatoes for just P510 on Friday, October 1, available either at the RuRi House in UP Village, Quezon City or at RuRi South in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Delivery riders will also receive a free bag of tomatoes worth 2 kilograms.
Want to help but you are based outside Metro Manila or have no use for so many tomatoes? You may choose to donate a box to barangays Tatalon and Payatas in Quezon City, as well as Baseco Compound in Tondo, Manila.
The group wrote, “If you have no use for that many tomatoes, please let us donate them to equally hapless barangays here in Metro Manila, to Payatas, to Tatalon. Our countrymen are suffering in the countryside, our countrymen are suffering in the city. What little we can do, to buy a box of tomatoes that we are not sure what to do with, it spells the difference of life for many people.”
You may buy or donate a box of mountain tomatoes on the group’s website.
“If you contribute P510, please get 20 kilos of freshly-picked Mountain Tomatoes. We promise that the tomatoes will be very high quality. We promise that the farmers will receive double farm gate price for their tomatoes. We promise that all riders will get a bag of tomatoes. We promise that residents of Brgy. Tatalon and Brgy. Payatas will get tomatoes”, the group added.