A Sad News of Rotting Tomatoes

A glimpse of news, roughly 20 tons of rotting tomatoes was aired via 24 Oras. It was happening in Navarcan, Ilocos Sur. It was said that a certain company, which was not mentioned, ordered too much for the season. The end result, tons and tons of red ripe tomatoes were rotting on delivery trucks. Some were not even picked.

Perhaps the farmers entered to a contract-growing agreement. Manufacturing company pays for the goods before it is even produce. In many cases, they provide the planting materials, fertilizers, necessary training and consultancy services. In return, they can assure steady supply of the commodity they want.

This kind of arrangement is also beneficial to farmers. It is a sure income source without worrying about where to sell. However, their income compared to quantity and quality is usually low.

Tomatoes. Letting them rot on the ground and become fertilizer is the last thing to do. First, the manufacturer who ordered the commodity was responsible for it. They should have converted them to shelf stable product. I am quite sure they have the capability but encountered a little shortcomings.

Next were the farmers. They could have done something about it. Processing them to tomato sauce, paste, juice, whole tomato in can is easy enough. Well, if they know beforehand the situation, they will surely contact other buyers, not process.

We are talking 20 tons here. It is not easy to process them at home levels. What I suggests to them is form a cooperative entity that will be responsible for processing. Any cooperative with a good core team can easily succeed. Base on my own experience, they can quickly source capital/equipment grants from government offices and NGO’s.

They should have not let the tomatoes rot even if the contractor had already pay the cost.


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