Trading post rising in La Trinidad

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- An estimated P400-million agricultural trading post will rise in the valley soon.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Benguet officials for the construction of the state-of-the-art trading, processing and marketing facility called the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center.

Alcala said it took the Development Academy of the Philippines several months to come up with a master plan for the new trading post to be built by the agency and managed by a farmer's cooperative.


Development Academy of the Philippines vice president Arnel Mabanto showcased the master plan for DA's first integrated food supply chain project, the most modern trading post in the country so far.

The Agri-Pinoy Trading Center will serve one million farmers in Benguet. It will be situated in the former four-hectare La Trinidad strawberry fields of the Benguet State University in Betag.

The new trading post will house a modern spot trading area, warehousing and cold storage, commercial areas like cafeterias, lounges, dormitories, banks and cooperative offices, parking, administrative offices, and other auxiliary support facilities like a solid waste treatment plant, Mabanto said.

Agri-Pinoy Trading Center will also help in increasing vegetable farmers' income by protecting them from market price fluctuations, and contribute to decongestion of long queues in the valley's trading post.

Alcala said the new facility will complement the existing smaller trading post but once fully operational, it will become the main trading post in Benguet.

Benguet farmers will no longer worry about the immediate market for their vegetables, as Alcala assured a contract growing system where companies will directly source out from them their needed vegetables from planting to harvest to delivery.

Alcala revealed the project will be funded jointly by the National Government and the local government unit under Benguet Governor Nestor Fongwan, Representative Ronald Cosalan, and La Trinidad Mayor Greg Abalos, with a sharing scheme with foreign investors.

The foreign investor, a Korean business group, has already committed to spend US $2.5 million for the processing plant of the new trading post.

The secretary added services in the facility will be tolled, and profits will be shared among the local government, the National Government, Benguet State University, farmers' cooperatives, and the investors.

He revealed the DA plans to establish similar trading posts in other parts of the county to complement each other and to work in an integrated system for food security purposes in preparation for the impending negative impacts of the World Trade Organization-Americas Free Trade Area agreements by 2015. (JM Agreda)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 20, 2011.

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