DA to build Agri-Pinoy trading center in La Trinidad

Posted on | Monday, 18 April 2011 | No Comments

by Lito Dar

 Benguet province will soon have an Agri-Pinoy trading post with a processing center and cold chain facility following the launching and signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala and Benguet State University(BSU) through its president, Dr. Rogelio Colting, last week here.

The new trading post, worth P400 million, will be constructed in the Strawberry Farm in this capital town, owned by BSU and being rented out to farmers.

During the MOU signing, Alcala has released a check worth P1.25 million as compensation to farmers who will be dislocated by the construction of the trading center that is expected to start in three months.

The trading center is envisioned to have several warehouses, a cold storage, commercial areas, processing center, and post harvest facilities as conduit in developing a vibrant agricultural marketing system.

The DA’s Agri-Pinoy program, as a system, aims to have an interconnected farmer- oriented agri-processing and trading centers aimed at promoting efficiency, productivity, and equity all across the supply chain.

Aside from Benguet, DA is also already studying the putting up of other similar trading centers in other parts of the country, targeting not only vegetables but other potential agricultural products.

In a press conference, Alcala said that food self-sufficiency is one of the problems they are trying to address. On rice, Alcala affirmed that the government aims to be self-sufficient by 2013. He stressed that they have already cut rice importation by about one third, from 2.4 million metric tons last year to 860,000 metric tons this year, which they hope to cut even further by 2012.

On other commodities, such as vegetables, Alcala said that, “We do not need a longer time to be self-sufficient as we can have enough production in just a year and all we need to do is to prepare the consolidation of all farmlands and for farmers to support the present programs being implemented by DA.”

Alcala also affirmed that aside from food sufficiency, the country also has the potential to export agricultural products through the Agri-Pinoy program that aims to improve agricultural production and food chain.

“Layunin natin dito ay para ang ating mga magsasaka ay diretso ng magdadala ng produkto sa mga traders.
Pinaghahandaan na din natin dito ang pagdating ng ating commitment mula sa World Trade Organization (WTO), na babagsakan na tayo ng mga imported na produkto, kaya dapat by that time may maganda na tayong food chain, kung saan mura na rin input natin at production cost, so we could compete,” Alcala said. (Our aim is for our farmers to bring directly their produce to traders. We are also preparing for our commitment with the WTO where we will be getting imported products so that by that time, we already have established food chains with cheap inputs and production cost so we could compete.)

In line with this, Alcala called on farmers to support the present programs being implemented by the agriculture department. (JDP/LD-PIA CAR)


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