BASUD, CAMARINES NORTE – More pineapple growers of this town can now transport their produce directly to Metro Manila markets with their recent acquisition of the P2M worth Kadiwa on Wheels (10-wheeler truck) by the Caayunan Multi-purpose Cooperative (CMC).

The CMC composed of 277 members most of whom are pineapple farmers, has qualified for the DA Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) “Enhanced Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita Inclusive Food Supply Chain Program” grant worth P2M which they used to purchase the 10-wheeler truck.

Angelica Z. Canaria, 22 year old General Manager of the CMC said that the 10-wheeler truck helped the coop achieve their long time goal to serve as consolidator of pineapple in the municipality of Basud. The coop also processes pineapple juice, pineapple tart and empanaditas.

“We were also able to provide direct market for the pineapple growers of Basud; na-minimized na din ang participation of middle men na kadalasan ay binabarat ang presyo ng pinya ng mga farmers; at mas marami pa ang na-encourage na mag-engage sa pineapple production. Added income din sa coop yun rental sa trucking.” Canaria added.

Since the coop acquired the 10-wheeler truck, they were able to facilitate two (2) trips to Metro Manila in January and February this year, transporting 36 metric tons of Queen pineapple to Balintawak market, Quezon City. The five pineapple farmers assisted were able to gain a much higher income compared to their usual practice of selling to local traders in a straight buying scheme or “all in” where there are only 2 standards – the “Good” pegged at P7.00/piece and the “Out” or batterballs which command a very low P1.00 per piece.

In Balintawak, the farmers can command higher prices depending on the size of pineapple. At the time of their shipment the extra large (1,000 grams above) was priced at P16.40/piece (price can reach up to P18.00/piece depending on the supply at Balintawak); large (851-1000 grams) – P11.33; Medium (701-850 grams) – P9.85; Small (551-700 grams) – P7.90; and extra small (351-550 grams) – P6.73. But the farmers need to spend cash on labor/hauling, trucking, brokers fee and other incidental expenses.

Thus, the Caayunan coop offers three options of financial assistance in the marketing of pineapples: OPTION 1 – the farmer will not spend a single centavo during the transport of the produce to Manila as the CMC will shoulder all the expenses. The farmer will only pay a marketing fee equivalent to 10% of his net income from the shipment. OPTION 2 – The farmer will receive a 50% downpament from the coop for his produce, and the other 50% will be paid upon return of the truck. The farmer and the coop get 50% share from the marginal profit. OPTION 3 – CMC will buy all the produce of the farmer at the prevailing price. All the farmers assisted so far have chosen Option 1.

Before each trip to Metro Manila, the CMC Kadiwa on Wheels goes to the barangay where the pineapple farm is located to pick up the pineapple products, saving the farmer from stress in hiring transport vehicle and the fruits from stresses in handling and hauling.

Showing support to the pineapple growers, Mayor Adrian S. Davoco of Basud launched the “Tanim Mo Benta Mo” some years ago. “Napakalaki ng impact ng programa sa income ng mga magpipinya sapagkat na i-direkta na namin ang farmers sa market. Sa simula ang daming challenges dahil nagrerenta lang kami ng truck at P30,000.00 per trip. Kaya nakakatuwa po at kami po ay nagpapasalamat ng marami sa Department of Agriculture dahil po kami ay nabigyan thru Kadiwa program ng isang 10-wheeler truck. Magiging dagdag kita po ito sa mga farmers at inspiration na maging responsible dahil sila na ang mag-memaintain ng truck.”

Municipal Agriculturist Harry James Felomino said that 450 hectares in the 29 barangays of Basud are planted to pineapple. “Dahil sabay sabay kung mag-ani, naging problema noon tuwing anihan ng pinya, na minsan ay hindi dumadating yun truck na ni-rerenta namin. May mga nabubulukan po ng pinya dahil hindi namin madala sa merkado. Sa una ay nakausap na namin yun may-ari ng truck na galing pang Manila, pero kapag oras na ng pagkarga ay hindi po nakakarating ang truck sa maraming kadahilanan,” added MA Felomino.

“Ngayon po ay marami ng magsasaka ang nais magparticipate sa Tanim mo Benta Mo program dahil pag-aari na po ng kooperatiba ang truck,” MA Felomino. enthused.

Felomino also added that the Caayunan MPC has been included in the Farm Clustering and Farm Consolidation (F2C2) program of the DA to enable better farmers’ or fisherfolk’s participation in the value chain.

Adelina A. Losa, Chief of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division said that the “Enhanced Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita Inclusive Food Supply Chain Program” provides financial assistance for capacity enhancement of farmers and fisherfolk cooperatives, associations (FCA) on value adding activities in the food supply chain such as procurement of produce, processing, packaging, transport and distribution of agri-fishery commodities. The program also gives financial assistance to community-based organizations for the operation and management of Kadiwa retail markets or stores.

Losa also said that as of February 16, 2021, the DA Bicol AMAD has facilitated the shipment of a total of 515 Metric Tons of fresh pineapple to Balintawak, Quezon City and Pasig. Most of these produce came from Basud farmers. (Lovella P. Guarin – RAFIS 5/ photo credit: MA Harry James Felomino, Eduardo Collantes, Jr and Hermito Antonio Privaldos )