Trading Center brings light of hope to Cordillerans
Baguio City, Benguet, Philippines  ·  
posted 31-Oct-2015  ·  
Following the onslaught of typhoon Lando in the Northern provinces of the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture immediately extended assistance to affected provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
During a recent visit of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala on October 25-27, 2015, the provincial local governments of Benguet and Mt. Province received a total of P18-million (M) in assistance.
“As instructed by President Noy Aquino, I am personally bringing to you the programs of the government to help you cope and recover from production losses because of the typhoon”, Alcala said.
“These assistance, consist of certified rice seeds, various vegetable seeds, and livestock animals, among others will help you restart your agricultural ventures and improve on your production,” he added.
Alcala noted that the DA regional office in CAR would soon start assessing damages and other requirements of the agriculture sector in the highlands as part of the nationwide campaign of the government for rural development.
While in Benguet, the secretary together with other DA officials visited the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC), which is almost nearing its completion.
The trading center, which is a partnership of the DA, the Benguet State University and the Provincial Government of Benguet, is the biggest and most modern facility of its kind.
The market will serve as an alternative outlet to veggie farmers who can now directly sell their produce at fair and rationalized prices, ensuring reasonable returns to all farmer-producers. 
“Kayo pong lahat ay kaisa dito sa proyektong ito kaya marapat lamang pong pangalagaan at tangkilikin natin ang BAPTC,” Alcala said stressing that farmer-producers need not sell their produce in random places anymore.
“Kung kayo po ay magbebenta lamang kung saan-saan ay tiyak na babaratin ang inyong mga ani, ngunit dito po sa BAPTC ay meron tayong prosesong susundin kung saan may kaukulang halaga ang bawat ani at pagod ninyo sa inyong mga bukirin,” he added.
Farmers who attended the pre-launching of the BAPTC are excited for the project to finish citing that many have seen “light in the dark” with the establishment of the trading center. 
Amado William, a representative from the Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council of Benguet said, “Malimit po naming problema ang fluctuation o pagpapalit-palit ng presyo para sa aming mga paninda. Dahil po sa proyektong ito ng DA, nagkaroon po ng sagot ang aming mga problema.”
“Sa dami po ng dumaang mababagsik na bagyo dito sa amin tulad ni Egay at Lando, kapag narinig na po ang pangalan ni Sec. Alcala, ay nabibigyan po kaming lahat ng bagong pag-asa,” William ended.
The BAPTC, once fully operational, is set to provide a market venue for farmers to directly sell their products to traders while eliminating the layer of middlemen resulting to higher gains for the food producers themselves.
Strategically located in Strawberry Fields of Brgy. Betag, La Trinidad, Benguet, with a land area of four hectares, the P656-M project is set to benefit some 8,000 fruit and vegetable farmers of Benguet and nearby provinces in the Cordilleras. (Adora Rodrigurez/AFID)

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