LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan said concerned stakeholders need a longer period of transition to adjust to the new policies of the Project Steering Committee in the full-blast operation of the multimillion-peso Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center, built for the benefit of vegetable farmers in the region.
The three-term lawmaker, a member of the PSC, said something must be done by the BAPTC management to make the facility operational and prevent it from becoming a white elephant in the future.
“We need to sustain our efforts to consult with the concerned stakeholders to win their hearts in patronizing the operation of the facility so that farmers will directly benefit from its full blast operation. We have to work out possible solutions that will lead to the operation of the facility to maximize its potentials for the benefit of our farmers,” Cosalan stressed.
He expressed confidence new BAPTC officials will be able to convince farmers and disposers to use the facility in their future transactions so that the facility will be maximized in addressing the needs of the farmers wanting to earn added income to uplift their living condition.
The facility will not be able to operate if BAPTC management will continue to be held hostage by the demand of disposers who continue to dictate upon the farmers to prevent them from transferring to the facility, Cosalan said.
The BAPTC was built to serve as the central vegetable trading center of semi-temperate vegetables produced in Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao to make sure that famers will directly benefit from their produce whereby they will earn more income from the trading of their produce.
Earlier, BAPTC management suspended the collection of the prescribed P0.25 trading fee per kilo of vegetables being traded in the facility to attract farmers to trade their produce with the facility for them to see for themselves the benefit of directly transacting with the management.
The BAPTC, built within a 5-hectare property of the State-run Benguet State University that served as the counterpart of the education institution in the project, is considered the biggest agriculture trading center in the country that was built by the previous administration to help uplift the standard of living of farmers and to decongest the existing vegetable trading post.
The PSC was tasked to be the policy-among body of the facility which is composed of representatives from the provincial government, BSU, La Trinidad municipal government, Cordillera office of the Department of Agriculture, farmers’ association, and office of the congressman.
Cosalan said policies that were crafted by the PSC were friendlier to the farmers but it seems there are some outside factors that prevent the farmers into patronizing the facility built by the government to protect their interests.