Fongwan, Villar meet for AFTA

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Governor Nestor Fongwan is leading a sit down talk with Senator Cynthia Villar on the impending implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

Fongwan recently went to the Senate to meet Villar with the Philippine Vegetable Industry Development Board (PVIDB).

The governor said the province with the PVIDB is preparing for the 2015 flooding of goods to the Philippines in a bid to protect the interests of the vegetable industry.

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Villar who chairs the Senate committee on agriculture and food has signified her pledge to aid highland farmers survive the AFTA implementation.

Benguet and the PVIDB is planning to form an alliance to give vegetable producing area a chance to market locally grown produce to markets, assuring sustainability when local markets take in goods from all over South East Asia.

Today, Benguet can supply 65 percent of the country's need and is currently releasing a minimum of one million kilos a day to various wet markets in the country.

The AFTA was formed by the Asean countries in 1993 aiming to increase Asean’s competitive edge in production in the world market. It will open doors for intense competition from the 10 Asean neighbors.

Fongwan wants to assure the survival of the local produce when the AFTA is implanted next year.

The AFTA implementation will push vegetable farmers to make produce world class, as markets will open globally for all nations.

Local famers still need a massive information dissemination campaign on the full effects of AFTA to fully grasp its impact on local products.

The province still lacks packaging, sorting and facilities to store vegetables and is hinging hopes on the completion of the Agri Pinoy Center.

The meeting with Villar aims to put concrete measure in the preparation for AFTA.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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