Davao City to buy vegetables of farmers hit by COVID-19 crisis

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 March) – The City Government of Davao will buy the produce of vegetable farmers to help them cope up with the loss of income due to the community quarantine imposed amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, Mayor Sara Duterte said Monday.

In a live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5, she said the vegetables from the affected farmers will be distributed to the residents for free.

Duterte noted that several farmers have already complained that their livelihood had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The demand for vegetables from restaurants has significantly declined after the city was placed under community quarantine on March 15, she said, citing their complaints.

“The city agriculturist will buy the vegetables from the farmers since they have an issue with demand. Most restaurants only retained their take-out and food delivery services. In effect, there are fewer customers, and so they only buy fewer vegetables from the farmers,” Duterte explained.

She said the local government would impose a price ceiling “so that the farmers would still recover their production costs.”

According to Duterte, the city government “will buy the vegetable surplus at a cost that will still earn farmers a profit.”

“We don’t want to put them at a disadvantage at this time. We are already confronted with a disaster, and we don’t want our farmers to lose profit,” she said.

Farmers from the city’s Marilog and Calinan districts usually grow vegetables such as cabbage, radish, eggplant and potato, among others.

Aside from vegetables, Duterte said the City Agriculturist Office would also distribute fish to residents most affected in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

She added the vegetable and fish distribution by the City Agriculturist Office would complement the distribution of food packs by the City Social Services and Development Office.

The Department of Trade and Industry has implemented a price freeze on basic commodities, following the issuance of Proclamation No. 922 putting the country under a State of Public Health Emergency due to COVID-19 outbreak.