Bani watermelon farmers suffer from low prices

BANI–Water melon farmers here have asked the municipal government to intervene over reports that traders are conniving to pull down the farm gate prices of their product, resulting in reduced income for them.

Romy Manalo, chairman of the Municipal Agriculture and Fisheries Council (MAFC) of Bani, said farmers already brought this matter to the attention of Mayor Gwen Yamamoto.

He said the municipal government must take control over farm gate prices of water melon so that farmers can get the highest prices for their sweet water melons.

Traders have been dictating the price of the Bani’s best product to the detriment of farmers planting the commodity, Manalo said.

Of the 27 barangays of Bani, 13 are planting water melons in their farms. Depending on the variety, water melons can be harvested from 75, 80 to 85 days after planting.

Bani is the only town in Pangasinan that celebrates the Pakwan Festival.

There are many other places in the country planting water melons but those produced in Bani’s rich alluvial soil under fair weather condition are still the sweetest, Manalo added.

Meanwhile, Manalo hailed the lifting of shellfish ban in Western Pangasinan.

He said although the red tide phenomenon affected only the coastal waters of Anda and Bolinao, Bani fish farmers also stopped harvesting their shellfishes in compliance with the advisory from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.   

“Although Bani was excluded from the shellfish ban, we felt we also had to stop harvesting shellfishes as Bolinao, Anda and Bani are bordered by the same waterway,” he added.

Manalo was referring to the Caquipotan Channel being shared by the three towns. (Leonardo Micua).   

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