Farmers want say in Benguet trading center policymaking

A FARMERS cooperative said it has not been consulted on the formulation of a business strategy for the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center.

The agricultural trading facility, which is the country’s biggest, is partially open following its soft launch last October.

But Benguet Farmers Marketing Cooperative (BFMC) Chairman John Sagpaey said his group has not had talks with the Department of Agriculture on the operation and management of the center. 

The cooperative has written the trading post’s Project Steering Committee (PSC) asking for an explanation.

Sagpaey said the cooperative signed off on the business plan with the understanding that it is subject to amendments.

The farmers have stopped bringing their produce to the center and are waiting for a clear policy on its operation.

The BFMC is the biggest farmers cooperative in the province, claiming a membership of over 3,000.

“To date, farmer members of the BFMC have been asking for the system at the BAPTC, to which we cannot reply to since no presentation was done, much so with the final approved business plan where the system is detailed,” Sagpaey said.

Sagpaey said the farmers particularly question the collection of P1 per kilo of produce brought to center, a fee which is supposed to go to the center’s maintenance and benefits and insurance for farmers.

The BAPTC management has since stopped the collection.
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