MORE “bagsakan” centers in the Philippines are being eyed in a bid to aid Benguet farmers to sell their produce and address oversupply.
Governor Melchor Diclas said the province is currently in dialogue with Agriculture Secretary William Dar for the construction of more vegetable trading centers all over the country.
“Talks with Agriculture Secretary William Dar started on the additional bagsakan centers in order to swiftly dispose vegetables that will benefit farmers,” Diclas added.
The Benguet official remains bullish that the agriculture department will conduct a study on the establishment of additional facilities located outside and near Manila and Bulacan to have other markets for highland vegetables.
Aside from bagsakan centers, he added that they are also coordinating with Benguet State University to spearhead post-processing centers to processed fruits and vegetables for juices and products for highly perishable vegetables.
Benguet, particularly in La Trinidad is home to La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post and Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center that delivers vegetables to key markets in Manila such as Divisoria and Balintawak and other areas in the country like Tarlac, Palawan, Pangasinan, Cebu, and Iloilo.
Augusta Balanoy, general manager of Hi-Land Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a member of the League of Associations in La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post said more bagsakan areas will entail higher demand and more produce of farmers.
Balanoy and Rudy Bulawan, traders and truckers association grievance committee chair added bulk of the produce at trading post are being delivered to Divisoria.
Sylvia Ediong of La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post acknowledged opening of more bagsakan center will give them more market all over the country.
The La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post, one of the biggest marketing and distribution facility of highland vegetables was constructed 36 years ago as a hub for vegetable trading.
In 1992, an estimated volume of 80 to 100 tons of vegetables were traded daily and in the next six years, the volume of vegetables traded has multiplied three times closed to 300 tons of vegetables daily.
Among the vegetable producing towns in the province, Buguias remains top producer followed by Mankayan, Kibungan, Kabayan and Bakun while nearby Mountain Province is also producing vegetables.
The 9,168 square meter facility houses 11 different associations composed of farmers, disposers, porters, packers, buyers, truckers and traders.
At the BAPTC, P200 million worth of vegetables were already sold since 2015.