AGUINALDO, Ifugao -- A P2-million worth packing house facility was launched in Barangay Posnaan here last February 17 in support to the processing of the town's increasing volume of banana produce.

The launching rites was attended by Dr. Josephine Aben, DA-RFU-CAR Regional Technical Director, Mr. Raymund Bahatan, Provincial Agriculturist the local executives and employees of the Municipal government of Aguinaldo led by Myor Delfin Bullan, and Vice Mayor Gaspar Chilagan.

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Dr. Aben said the DA's High Value Commercial Crops Program (HVCC) favorably endorsed the approval of the packing house because of the increasing volume of banana produced in the municipality.

She lauded the effort of the local government unit (LGU) in making it as an integral part of their poverty reduction program.

Raymund Bahatan, who represented Governor Theodore Baguilat Sr., said the successful realization of the project was a result of integrated efforts of the Department of Agriculture (DA), provincial and municipal officials and the Ifugao State University (Ifsu).

Aside from contributing P1.2 million for the construction of this packing house, the DA also provided an amount of over P1 million for the establishment of a banana tissue culture laboratory that is now being implemented by Ifsu, he said.

The DA supports the office of the provincial agriculturist in distributing tissue cultured banana planting materials, conduct farmers' trainings and undertakes pest and disease surveillance, control and eradication.

The DA-LGU-SUC integrated activities are helping farmers to expand their plantations and should be sustained to maximize limited resources for maximum benefits, Bahatan said.

Vice Mayor Chilagan, for his part, informed the farmers present during the launching ceremonies that the LGU of Aguinaldo allotted P800 as its contribution to the construction of this one-storey facility, including the lot where it will be constructed.

The facility will serve about 1,068 household in the municipality who produce about 100 metric tons of bananas every month, reported Ruben Dulagan, HVCC regional program coordinator.

Banana is presently the one-town, one-product (Otop) of Aguinaldo, he said.

Mayor Bullan, for his part, said the facility will not only serve the farmers in Aquinaldo. He envisions the facility being expanded into a trading post for bananas and other fruit crops being produced in the municipalities of Aguinaldo and Alfonso Lista in Ifugao; and, Paracelis, Natonin, and Barlig in Mountain Province.

Meantime, Dr. Aben reported that the DA-HVCC has turned over 105.10 kilograms of assorted vegetables to the Province of Ifugao. The seeds were valued at P392,386. Some 17 threshers for use in organic composting were also transferred to the office of the Provincial Agriculturist for turnover to beneficiaries. (Robert Domoguen)