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Farmers, LGUs upbeat on new trading center

LA TRINIDAD  - Farmers and local officials are grateful to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III and Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala for the creation of a state-of-the-art trading facility in Benguet that is expected to boost the P5-billion vegetable industry.

The facility would encompass the processing, packaging and marketing of semi-temperate vegetables to make local produce more competitive in the global market.

John Sagpaey, chairman of the Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative, said that for decades now, vegetable farmers have been seeking appropriate packaging and processing facilities that would add value to their produce.

 Sagpa-ey represented the farmers group  at the signing of the memorandum of agreement for the upcoming operation of the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center with Agriculture Undersecretary Emmerson Palad, Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan, Gov. Nestor B. Fongwan, Mayor Edna C. Tabanda and Dr. Ben Ladilad representing the Benguet State University.

Palad said that being the producer of   80 percent of the country’s supply of highland vegetables,   Benguet will be a force to reckon with.

To improve access to the facility, Cosalan said the public works department already bidded out the P40 – million contract to   construct the access road from the Halsema Highway  to the site of the new trading center within the strawberry farm along Km. 6 here.

“With better infrastructure, farmers will surely be experiencing reduced maintenance cost of their vehicles and lower transportation cost because of reduced travel time from the farms to the market and bigger take home income that will improve their living condition,” Cosalan stressed.

Gov. Nestor Fongwan said the operation of the Agri Pinoy Trading Center by March will be a major breakthrough in the province’s history.

The governor added the province will remain committed to fulfilling its  obligations under the agreement in order to empower the farmers to patronize its operation and avail of value added opportunities for their produce.

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