Former Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol. (PNA file photo)

DAVAO CITY – Former Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Monday said a modified barter system on “excess agricultural products” is an effective way to deviate depending on importation.

In an interview, Piñol said the system involves the conveying of excess agricultural production of one area to places where these are in short supply, stabilizing prices for consumers while farmer-producers profit from their labor.

“It's not the traditional barter system where people exchange commodities. This is more 'I buy your product, you buy mine.' What makes this different is that they have agreed on what to sell and what to buy back,’ he said.

To test the system, Piñol said he is collaborating with Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Roberto "Ka Dodoy" Ballon to launch a modified barter engagement with fruit farmers from North and South Cotabato.

It involves, he said, transporting Cotabato fresh fruits to Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, in time for the launching of the "Prutasan sa Kabasalan" on Sept. 23.

“If we can do this nationwide, there is no reason for us to depend on imported food commodities because our farmers could produce enough, provided they get a fair price for their produce,” Piñol said

On the way back to North Cotabato, he said the truck from Kabasalan would be loaded with about five tons of talaba, bagongon, and banisil, including available fresh fish caught by fishermen, just in time for the market day of M'lang on Sept. 24; Kidapawan City, Sept. 25; Makilala, Sept. 26 and the New Rizal Market in M'lang, Sept. 27.

“This idea of exchanging products between several areas of Mindanao was hatched when I was still chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority when I designed the Mindanao Food Supply and Demand Map,” Piñol said. (PNA)