Guv seeks veggie alliance-A A +A
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan is asking vegetable stakeholders to form an alliance.
Fongwan said an alliance for vegetable producing areas should be formed in preparation for the Asean’s Free Trade Area (Afta) implementation in 2015.
“We should work as partners and not as competitors,” he said, as he addressed the 400 participants from all over the country during the 10th Vegetable Congress in Butuan City, Mindanao.
Fongwan likewise appealed to Philippine Vegetable Industry Development Board chairman Marcelino Remotigue to be globally competitive. “The marketing strategies of the industry should be enhanced.”
Fongwan stressed that proper packaging, sorting, value-adding and other improvisation should be done to be able to cater to the high-end markets.
“Strategies should also empower the farmer to be able to sell his produce to these high end buyers through cooperatives. The common goal and unity among farmers is critical in making them globally competitive,” Fongwan said.
He cited the Benguet vegetable industry experience during the entry of smuggled vegetables during years 2001 through 2008 where highland carrots were sold at P1 per kilo and majority were thrown since no trader will buy the said produce.
“Let us not wait for 2015 before we act, we should start now,” he said.
He also said that aside from the Cordillera Region, he will meet with the leaders of neighboring vegetable-producing provinces like Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, and Ilocos Sur concerning this.
“I will encourage them to make a profile of their temperate vegetable produce for identification of exact production volume,” Fongwan said.
Fongwan also said the province’s intervention will prepare the industry for the Afta challenges. “The establishment of a cold chain and processing area, the soil treatment of acidic and over-used land farms and the creation of the Benguet Farmers’ Marketing Cooperative (BFMC).”
He added, “We have the quality and the quantity but there is no proper packaging and proper marketing system.”
He said that farmers, through the BFMC, will deliver the province’s product to high-end markets before China does.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 01, 2012.