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MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Friday said efforts are being intensified to ensure that there will be zero to minimal wastage for agricultural commodities in the country.

In a statement, the DA said it will boost its linkages with industrial buyers to help producers secure a market for their production.

“The Department of Agriculture (DA) is intensifying market linkages through contract farming with hotels, restaurants and other institutional buyers on the procurement of surplus harvests,” it said.

“The program will be in the form of relevant assistance and interventions seen to facilitate the transport of produce to areas where these are in demand, with zero to minimal wastage and supply of excess agricultural goods,” it added.

The DA made the statement following reports of small tomato wastage in Nueva Vizcaya.

“Reports on the dumping of some 500 kilos of small tomatoes, valued at PHP8 to PHP12 per kilogram, from the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Trading (NVAT) on January 25, 2023 (are) being looked into by the DA,” it said.

The NVAT said consumers’ preference for larger tomatoes sold at the same price range may be a factor in the matter.

To avoid similar instances, the DA underscored the need for an efficient food mobilization strategy.

“(This) will be realized through the distribution of delivery trucks and vegetable crates to more farmers’ cooperatives and associations (FCAs) and municipalities under the agency’s Enhanced Kadiwa grant,” it said.

Through this strategy, the department believes that problems with oversupply shall be minimized as it fulfills the administration’s goal of aiding farmers to earn more and ensure an affordable and adequate supply of agricultural commodities for the consumers in the market.

The DA has already identified 10 municipal beneficiaries of such distribution thus far.

The administration, under the helm of President and concurrent Agriculture Secretary Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., earlier vowed to improve the entire value chain of the country to help achieve food sufficiency targets. (PNA)