P20 million processing plant to rise in Benguet
Food processing facility up for construction in La Trinidad, Benguet
MANILA – Agriculture Secretary William Dollente Dar approved the proposal to construct a P20-million food processing facility to further assist the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center in La Trinidad town.
The facility hopes to add value to vegetables and fruits from thousands of farmers in Benguet and other Cordillera provinces and prevent wastage and losses every peace season.
It was earlier reported farmers from Tinoc, Ifugao were dumping tomatoes due to lack of buyers and access to markets. The Department of Agriculture in the Cordillera Administrative Region improved its marketing channels through the Kadiwa Express to find buyers.
“We have also negotiated with other vegetable buyers to purchase tomatoes from Tinoc farmers and adjoining areas,” said DA-CAR Director Cameron Odsey.
Last June 14, he said Tinoc farmers were linked to eleven groups of new buyers who bought 26 metric tons of tomatoes. The farmers were able to sell 18.5 metric tons of tomatoes this week amounting to P166,000. Seven other private buyers vowed to buy vegetables from other production areas in the region.
Secretary Dar said there should be no reason for farmers to lose when harvest is abundant.
“Dumping will not happen again.” He said during the regular quarterly meeting of the BAPTC project steering board yesterday at the DA-CAR office in Baguio City.
He said the food processing center will not only serve as a processing hub, but as a learning and training site for farmers interested to process their harvest into other high value products, providing them additional income and making them into food processors.
“We want our Filipino farmers to more than growers. We want them to become entrepreneurs. This will level-up their game, and give them more financial benefits,” he added.
The funds will come from the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) to the Benguet State University that oversees the management of the BAPTC. (Melo M. Acuña)
Secretary William D. Dar (second from right) presides over the BAPTC Board Meeting yesterday in Baguio City. (Department of Agriculture photo)