Sa­gada pro­duce mak­ing way to Manila

Sun.Star Baguio - - Top Stories - Gina Di­zon

SA­GADA, MOUN­TAIN PROV­INCE—The new nor­mal in these times of the Covid - 19 pan­demic comes to be ad­van­ta­geous for veg­etable farm­ers able to re­coup their ex­penses at rea­son­able cost by sell­ing di­rectly in Manila.

Now on its eighth run, the lo­cal govern­ment unit of Sa­gada through the Of­fice of the Mu­nic­i­pal Agri­cul­tur­ist (OMAG), fa­cil­i­tate mar­ket of lo­cal veg­eta­bles and other prod­ucts to Manila with cus­tomers hav­ing pre-or­dered their cho­sen goods on July 29.

Prior to the im­po­si­tion of com­mu­nity quar­an­tine, veg­etable pro­duce are de­liv­ered to La Trinidad in Benguet or in Baguio City be­fore they are trans­ported to other parts of the coun­try.

Prices often vary depend­ing on the sup­ply.

The pan­demic how­ever opened new and se­cured reme­dies to sell lo­cal prod­ucts to Manila while ob­serv­ing pro­to­cols in ad­dress­ing the threats of Covid-19.

Maria Ap-apid, mu­nic­i­pal agri­cul­tur­ist said di­rectly sell­ing the veg­eta­bles to Manila through the help of a friend of the town is a big help to farm­ers who have dif­fi­cul­ties in mar­ket­ing their prod­ucts at this time of the pan­demic.

At the height of the Covid-19 pan­demic in March, Mayor James Pooten con­tacted Tracy San­ti­ago, a long­time friend of Sa­gada based in Manila to help in the sale of lo­cally raised veg­eta­bles.

Sa­gada pro­duces tons of tem­per­ate veg­eta­bles—toma­toes, cab­bage (red and green), wom­bok, cu­cum­ber, bell pepper, car­rots, say­ote, sweet peas, and beans the whole year round and its nor­mal mar­ket sold in town and nearby places of Bon­toc, Is­abela and Baguio.

In this new nor­mal mar­ket­ing strat­egy, tem­per­ate crops in­clud­ing egg­plants raised by some 40 gar­den­ers reach Manila twice a month with some 1.5 to five tons per trip the past eight runs since April 7.

Other prod­ucts car­ried to Manila are home­made goods— jams, jel­lies, cof­fee, ham, etag (smoked meat) and re­cently pot­tery goods—all pro­cessed by Sa­gada’s en­trepreneur­s.

Lo­cal prod­ucts— veg­eta­bles and home pro­cessed foods—are usu­ally mar­keted in town and in nearby Baguio, La Trinidad, Is­abela and the Ilo­cos be­fore the oc­cur­rence of the Covid pan­demic.

Lo­cally made prod­ucts—jams, jel­lies, cook­ies, etag, pick­les, wo­ven bags, and ce­ram­ics were bought by tourists in town who come from Baguio, Manila, Ilo­cos, Visayas, Davao, and for­eign­ers hav­ing reached their peak at 180,000 ar­rivals separately in the past two years.

The new nor­mal mar­ket strat­egy of the LGU is made pos­si­ble with a hired truck and a con­tact in Manila who does the or­ders.

Veg­eta­bles priced from P25–P40 per kilo­gram at farm gate price are de­liv­ered door to door with rea­son­able mar­ket prices.

Tem­per­ate veg­eta­bles mostly raised in the food bas­ket of south­ern Sa­gada and some at the cen­tral town faced mar­ket­ing prob­lems this Covid pan­demic times.

With the Covid threat, LGU pro­to­cols re­quire driv­ers com­ing from out­side to un­dergo a 14-day stay at the Pegew quar­an­tine site while an­other home­based driver drives the ve­hi­cle home with back-load goods if there are some.

The driver who goes Manila and pass through Baguio holds a health dec­la­ra­tion and mu­nic­i­pal pass, his driver’s ID and a food pass from the Of­fice of the Mu­nic­i­pal Agri­cul­tur­ist.

In two con­sec­u­tive times dur­ing the first and sec­ond runs to Manila, veg­gies trans­ported from town were trans­ferred to a con­tainer van of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) at Pegew check­point where the ini­tial five tons of veg­gies were even­tu­ally trans­ported to Manila.

The driver who came from Baguio was the one who drove the ve­hi­cle to Manila.

DA took charge of the fuel and the driver’s al­lowance twice. Toll fees were paid by the con­tact in Manila.

On the third run on­wards, lo­cal ve­hi­cles trans­ported the goods straight to Manila. The truck of the LGU trans­ported the goods in four con­sec­u­tive times to Manila and farm­ers

paid P7 per kg of their prod­ucts to an­swer for the fuel and travel cost. Toll fees were es­pe­cially paid by Mas­ferre’s and Log Cabin Café from the 3rd to the 6th run.

Be­gin­ning in the third run, boxes of home-made jams and jel­lies and some 200400 packs of cof­fee from the Sa­gada Cof­fee Grow­ers and Pro­duc­ers Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SACGPO) are car­ried each trip to Manila.

Lo­cally made ce­ramic prod­ucts caught up in the mar­ket in the 7th run.

With the open­ing up of the econ­omy in Manila in June, or­ders slowed down reach­ing some 1.5 tons of veg­gies. Pro­cessed foods were still or­dered.

The sev­enth and the re­cent trip are now be­ing trans­ported by a pri­vate truck and mar­ket of lo­cal veg­gies and home­made stuff con­tin­ues. The mu­nic­i­pal agri­cul­tur­ist of­fice still main­tains to fa­cil­i­tate co­or­di­na­tion of farm­ers’ prod­ucts and other home-made stuff to Manila.

Now on uni­form trans­porta­tion cost, farm­ers and other en­trepreneur­s who have their goods car­ried to Manila pay the usual freight cost of P7 per kg of their prod­ucts for the trans­port cost. The usual trans­port cost of ve­hi­cles to Manila from Sa­gada is P18,000 per trip and vice versa.

With goods in quan­tity at a freight price of P7 per kg, the pri­vate truck owner/busi­ness­man has to find other prod­ucts not nec­es­sar­ily or­dered by the LGU con­tact in Manila to re­coup his ex­penses and back­load prod­ucts which maybe are or­dered in Sa­gada.

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