Gov­ern­ment mulls agri trad­ing cen­ters out­side Metro Manila

Agriculture - - Contents -

IN AN EFFORT to pro­vide a fa­cil­ity for food pro­duc­ers from the north­ern and south­ern re­gions of Lu­zon, the gov­ern­ment is ex­pected to es­tab­lish at least two Farm­ers’ and Fish­er­men’s Trad­ing Cen­ters or FFTC in strate­gic ar­eas out­side Metro Manila.

This an­nounce­ment was made by Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA) Sec­re­tary Manny Piñol dur­ing his re­cent visit to the Cordillera Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion (CAR) to meet with the lo­cal chief ex­ec­u­tives of Abra, Benguet, Moun­tain Prov­ince, Kalinga, Ifu­gao, and Apayao. “We are look­ing at Taguig City as one pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion for a cen­ter that will serve farm­ers from Bi­col, Que­zon, and other food-pro­duc­ing prov­inces south of Lu­zon.”

Dur­ing the di­a­logue, which was held at the Benguet Agri-Pi­noy Trad­ing Cen­ter, Piñol stressed the im­por­tance of estab­lish­ing FFTCs near Metro Manila where farm­ers can easily de­liver and mar­ket their pro­duce. “Farm­ers need to have a steady lo­ca­tion where they can bring in their pro­duce and meet traders.”

He added that af­ter the clear­ing op­er­a­tions con­ducted bythe city gov­ern­ment of Manila in the Divi­so­ria area, many vegetable ven­dors were dis­placed. “What I saw then was not cri­sis, but op­por­tu­nity,” he said. It was learned that the DA is now in the plan­ning stage for the trad­ing cen­ters, and con­duct­ing ini­tial con­sul­ta­tions with the stake­hold­ers in­volved in the project.

Dur­ing his trip to Benguet, Piñol also asked the vegetable pro­duc­ers of CAR if they were amenable to the idea. If FFTCs were es­tab­lished near Manila, he said, farm­ers would no longer need to have to sell their pro­duce them­selves.

For agri­cul­tural prod­ucts com­ing from the north, Piñol is eye­ing Mey­cauayan in Bu­la­can and Valen­zuela City as pos­si­ble lo­ca­tions for the trad­ing in­fra­struc­ture. “I will still be dis­cussing this with Art Tu­gade (the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion sec­re­tary), but there is an old PNR (Philip­pine Na­tional Rail­ways) fa­cil­ity in Bu­la­can which can be used,” he said.

Piñol added that Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano has al­ready ap­proved the idea and is look­ing for­ward to the col­lab­o­ra­tion, which fol­lows the con­cept of Food Ter­mi­nal In­cor­po­rated or FTI.The agri chief, how­ever, stressed that since the trad­ing cen­ters may take time to es­tab­lish, “…to quickly serve our farm­ers, we may set up tem­po­rary tents at the Bureau of Plant In­dus­try com­pound in San An­dres, Manila for the mean­time.” – BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Manny Piñol.

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