Government mulls agri trading centers outside Metro Manila
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.