La Trinidad as an economic hub

THE quiet valley has become a booming economic hub.

A bustling vegetable, flower and coffee industry has made the town a center for trade and industry in the region, transforming the Valley to a trading and business center.

The strawberry fields in Betag, Poblacion, Puguis and Pico have provide the region with the product all year round.

There are almost 49 hectares of strawberry farms, and 22 to 24 metric tons are being harvested per hectare with an average production of 924 metric tons increasing from 2014 to the present with an estimated 1,908 strawberry farmers.

The town through the annual strawberry festival has highlighted its moniker for having fresh berries and stamped its recognition with a Guinness World record for the largest strawberry cake in the 2005 also known to have a vegetable producing town.

The small town festival features top products of the 16 baranagys of the town.

At present, the province still holds 80 percent of vegetable market inputs nationwide, with highland produce easily supplying the needs of lowland areas all year round with basic commodities like cabbage, carrots, potatoes and sayote.

These veggies comprise the majority of the volume being supplied by CAR to the key markets in the country. There are at least 130 to 140 trucks that hauls vegetables from the Trading Post which carries the abovementioned volume.

The vegetable industry of the province converging in the capital town paved the way for the opening of the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center, a P400-million agricultural facility envisioned to be used by farmers and traders.

The Department of Agriculture has promoted the BAPTC as the country’s biggest trading center which allows agriculture stakeholders to be ready with the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade by the end of this year.

The Office of the Municipal Agriculturist estimates 17,000 metric tons of Arabica coffee beans were produced in the town.

The Department of Trade and Industry has invested on coffee processing equipment needed for quality arabica coffee now in Ampasit, Longlong.

A small coffee festival is also celebrated annually, aiming to recognize the contribution of the coffee producers of world class beans since the industry boomed in 2000.

The pulse point of the flower industry of the town is at Barangay Bahong is considered as the center of the local cut-flower industry with cut-flower-producing barangays of this town, such as Ambiong and Alno.

A steady supply of flowers come from Valley cut flower farmers especially during the Baguio Flower Festival season where the demand increases.

Growers supply flowers in Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, and Bicol Region.

Peak months includes November, February where Valentine’s Day is celebrated as well as the annual Baguio Flower Festival as well as March where majority graduates from schools and universities here.

Farmer’s plant flowers 3 ½ to 4 months before the peak seasons like Valentine’s Day, All Saint’s Day, and Christmas Day.

The Statistical Operations and Coordination Division (SOCD) of Philippine Statistics Office (PSA-CAR) said Benguet still leads the survey on the least poor areas in the Cordillera.

The province proved to be least poor with its 9.5 percent poverty incidence in the first semester of 2015.

Based on the 2012 Small Area Estimates of poverty released by PSA, the least poor municipalities, including Baguio, are La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay (BLISTT).

Over the years, the province capital is at the center of trade, production and marketing of produce from its neighboring towns.
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