Last year, it was reported that around 10 tons (that's more than 9,000 kilograms!) of red tomatoes were thrown away along Kalayaan, Laguna because farmers were not able to sell due to surplus. This year, the same unfortunate situation is happening to our sweet, juicy, yellow mangoes. But Chef Jam Melchor, the founder of Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement and the country head of Slow Food Youth Network Philippines, is not letting this happen without a good fight.
Chef Jam Melchor posted on his Facebook to call people to help our mango farmers in Luzon. He says, "This season, they are producing about 100 tons per week. One truck can contain four tons. They can give it a P25/kilo if four tons ang order, [while] export grade is at P50/kilo."
According to a report by Agriculture, the Department of Agriculture informed Chef Jam about the surplus of mangoes and they also asked for his help in connecting the farmers to people in the food industry. In this report, Chef Jam also shares, "Farmers needs to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture's marketing services so they can help them look for potential buyers ahead of time or before harvesting. Not after harvesting. This will be very difficult because a mango's life span is only three to four days."
If farmers need to coordinate with the Department of Agriculture, what can we do as individuals to help our farmers? Chef Jam says to "buy what's in season [and] prioritize using local." In Chef Jam's Facebook post, it also indicates who we can contact to order from the surplus of mangoes. He says, "You may call DA [Department of Agriculture] Main office (AMAS) [Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service] at (02) 925-3795 so they can link you directly to these mango producers."
*This story originally appeared on Yummy.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.