DA sec urges Cordi veggie farmers: Trade at BAPTC

>> Tuesday, May 31, 2016

To ease monopoly of traders’ cartel 

By Aldwin Quitasol

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Dept. of Agriculture Secr. Proceso J. Alcala urged Cordillera farmers to trade here at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) before the administration of President Benigno Aquino III ends. 
According to Alcala, the situation of the farmers especially highland vegetable gardeners prompted the government through the DA to implement projects such as BAPTC.
"This facility desires to provide vegetables with a system and a legacy that can truly improve their economic state," he said.
He added it is an avenue for farmers and buyers to have better market access and direct link between farmers and consumers for more stable and affordable supply of consumers.
The DA in a press statement said there is low demand of vegetables among consumers due to high prices imposed by traders.
There is low buying price imposed by middlemen on vegetable farmers and the high interest rates of agricultural loans.
With his situation, he said there is need to trade at the BAPTC to address such concerns..
In "Highland Vegetables Investment Forum cum Trade Fair" with vegetable farmers and traders at the BAPTC here beside the popular Strawberry Farm,  Alcala said government spent more than P500 million for construction of the BAPTC and had allotted millions of pesos for its operational expenses.
Alcala said the project was proposed in 2011 and approved in 2013.
Actual construction started in 2014 with the P655 million from the DA   and partially completed April last year.
But since its soft launching on October 26, 2015, farmers and traders  are still hesitant to transfer from the old vegetable trading post to the BAPTC.
They questioned management and its partial completion, road accessibility and lack of clear management.
They also questioned the mandatory trading fee per kilo of vegetables they will bring to BAPTC.
Alcala said they have only more than one month in office and one of the legacies the outgoing administration can leave is the BAPTC.

“Gusto kong maningil sai nyo," (I'd like to ask you for a payback), he told the farmers. He said the government invested millions of money to help the farmers in improving their lives.


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