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Plastic gets new lease on life in farming

Publication Date : 24-06-2012


The plastics technology has been buried in an avalanche of bad press releases owing to fears it has worsened the impact of climate change on the environment.

But plastic does offer a vital service to the food industry. During the recent World Food Expo in Baguio City, homegrown companies marketed plastic containers to the region’s vegetable producing sector, saying that this technology would keep farm produce fresh and healthy during shipping, especially during the monsoon season.

Roderick Flores, pitchman for the First Pinnacle Trading Corp. at the expo, said container firms have shifted their sights to the upland communities where most salad vegetables sold in Metro Manila are grown.

Also up on display were the polyetheylene screens and plastic crates of Amazon Manufacturing Corp., which is based in Valenzuela City, Metro Manila. The screens serve as cages for chicken and swine, or as construction shields to protect work crew from falling debris.

“Benguet’s vegetable farmers are productive but they lose profits due to poor post-harvest procedures, such as when they improperly ship out vegetables,” said Flores.

So farmers end up peeling off cabbage leaves on their way to the vegetable trading post in La Trinidad, Benguet, until each head of cabbage arrives with far less weight and sells for far less its value, he said.

According to Pantaleon Bangloy, a vegetable trader, half of the 4 to 5 tonnes of vegetables delivered to La Trinidad daily are lost because of the pounding each shipment endures from the mountain road trips.

Marites Salazar, the trading post’s revenue collector, said up to 150 trucks and vans bring in vegetables everyday from Benguet, Mt. Province and Ifugao.

Flores said the company had been holding workshops to convince farmers to use their products, which are designed to contain vegetable produce without damaging them.

“We also scanned the greenhouse industry, which sourced materials from as far as Israel, so we introduced the [locally designed plastic frames and screens],” he said.


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