Tons of tomatoes in Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao are being dumped or left to rot on the fields due to a lack of buyers amid strict border controls due to COVID-19. (Photos courtesy of Enza Aguinao)

Villamor Visaya Jr., News Correspondent Philippine Daily Inquirer

SANTIAGO CITY, Isabela––Tons of ripe tomatoes harvested in Tinoc town, Ifugao province were dumped on open fields due to lack of buyers, officials said Wednesday, Sept. 29.

In a statement, Dr. Domingo Mariano, Tinoc municipal agriculturist, said the no-vaccination-no-entry policy at checkpoints was preventing buyers from reaching the markets.

Farmer Enza Aguinao said she had to take back at least two metric tons of unsold ripe tomatoes from the Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal since she had no buyers for the produce.

Vegetable stall owner Diego Madino also reported that at least six more metric tons of tomatoes were left to rot or taken by duck and hog raisers in Nueva Vizcaya.

In a press statement, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said he had ordered the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera to investigate the matter.

Dar also directed local government units to look for buyers and deploy trucks to transport the tomatoes to the markets.#