DA to kick off trading center project nationwide

THE Agri-Pinoy Trading Center project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is ready for takeoff as Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala signs the memorandum of agreement between representatives from the local government and private sector today at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management convention hall.

The trading centers which will be constructed in Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, and North Cotabato are designed to enable farmers to skip through the layers of middlemen, and increase their sales by accessing a lucrative market for their produce. The project also intends to lower and stabilize food prices paid by the consumers as well as achieve food self-sufficiency in the country.

The Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center which will be constructed in four-hectare compound inside Benguet State University (BSU) will focus on trading upland or “chopsuey” vegetables including carrots, lettuce, chayote, and broccoli among others. It is expected to benefit more than 5,000 farmers from nearby provinces.

The Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija trading centers covering four hectares and two and a half hectares respectively will become the main trading posts for lowland veggies such as squash, eggplant, bitter gourd, and other similar vegetables. The facilities will each serve more than 3,000 farmers during the initial operation.

The University of Southern Mindanao (USM) Halal Training and Development Center in North Cotabato will serve as slaughterhouse and trading post for livestock animals like goat and sheep and will serve approximately 1,000 livestock farmers trading around nearby areas.

Secretary Alcala, who advocates for higher farmers’ incomes and reduction of middlemen’s intervention, declared that he wants the trading centers be patterned over the Sentrong Pamilihan ng Produktong Agrikultura ng Quezon which was established in 2006 and uplifted the financial status of Quezon farmers.

The event will be graced by other signatories of the MOA: Urdaneta Mayor Amadeo Perez IV, Urdaneta Farmers’ Federation President Mr. Jacob Malicdem, USM President Jesus Antonio Derije, Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali, Nueva Ecija Vegetables Growers’ Association Chairman Jerry Agpalo, Benguet State University President Ben Ladilad, Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan, Benguet Congressional District I Representative Ronald Cosalan, La Trinidad, Benguet Mayor Gregorio Abalos, Jr., and Benguet Farmers’ Marketing Cooperative President Aurelio Lapniten.

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