For many weeks, Metro Manila consumers and even those in other parts of Luzon had to deal with high prices of commodities, particularly farm products due to the onslaught of the typhoon that wreaked havoc to many farms.
To help consumers and to also provide an avenue for farmers to sell their products, the Department of Agriculture (DA) through Sec. Manny Piñol opened TienDA in Manila. The goal of the program is to provide farmers a place to sell their goods without a middle man; thus, the prices for consumers are lower.
Sadly, despite the lower prices of the goods and knowing they are buying directly from the farmers, there were a number of buyers who walked off without paying and simply brought home plastic bags filled with the farmers’ produce.
An angry Piñol took to Facebook to slam these dishonest buyers but also blamed himself for not protecting the farmers more. It was sad that due to the high volume of customers that swarmed the farmer’s market, the farmers were unable to keep track of their customers and were not able to cope with the weighing of the goods as well as collecting the payments.
According to Piñol, the DA had not expected the high number of people who came to the farmer’s market; thus, they were unable to provide enough manpower to assist the farmers.
Sadly, this also gave many dishonest buyers the chance to get their vegetables for ‘free’, not thinking at all about the months of physical and manual labor these farmers had to undergo just to bring these farm products to our tables…
When the TienDA resumes tomorrow with another 20 tons of fruits and vegetables, officials of the Agribusiness Office of the DA will assist farmers in selling their produce in an orderly manner.
As for the farmers who lost their produce to the “veggie-lifters,” they will most likely just shrug it off and say “Charge to experience.”
They have been exploited and shortchanged many times in the past.
I am saddened, however, that this time I failed to protect them.
What makes me sadder is the thought that what happened today could be symptomatic of the erosion of Filipino values.
Source: Facebook / Manny Piñol