Farm families in barangay Nawal, Bokod, Benguet can now transport quality agricultural produce to the market hassle free.
This is made possible by the turnover of a P4.65 million agricultural tramline from the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA PRDP) and the Municipal LGU of Bokod.
Using the tramline, farmers save on time and money for hauling expenses. The risk of accidents on the hauling of farm produce is also reduced and product quality is maintained.
Bokod Municipal Mayor Thomas Wales Jr. led the turnover ceremony of the tramline last October 18. He said that aside from merely concentrating on chayote and eggplant alone, they should increase their production or include other crops such as tomatoes among others.
“Rest assured that the municipal LGU of Bokod will continue providing assistance in the maintenance and operation of this tramline,” he said adding that he is thankful for the cooperation of the residents in barangay Nawal.
The 450-meter tramline installed in the area will benefit around 112 farmers in barangay Nawal. It is expected to serve 3,096 hectares of agricultural land area planted with rice, potato, Chinese cabbage, green onions, garden pea and other highland vegetables which are being brought and sold to the market areas in the municipality of La Trinidad and in Baguio City.
For sustainability, the operations of the tramline will be managed by Wakal Gardeners Organization, a registered farmers group in barangay Nawal.
“Ebadeg e tulong niya tram son sikame. Kaasi na met, haanen nga unay nga matiltil dagiti padak nga babasit gapu ti kasasakbat ti nateng (This tramline is really a big help to us. The growth (height) of the farmers here will no longer be stunted due to haulage of vegetable produce,” said Editha Rilay, President of Wakal Gardeners Organization in her acceptance message.
She further thanked the contractor of the subproject for providing employment opportunities, let alone additional income, to the farmers in the area who were hired as laborers during the construction of the tramline.
“I am really thankful for the completion of this tramline because the distance of which we haul farm inputs from Halsema road to our farm will now be reduced,” said Jimmy Pistola, a farmer-beneficiary, as he recalled how hard it was for them to carry heavy loads to and from their farm for more or less than two hours at most.
Accordingly, the existing road within the influence area is the barangay road Japa-Wakal connected to the Halsema highway. It is the sole access to barangay Nawal which is 16.85 kilometers from the municipal hall to the location of the tramline.
Pistola added that as primary users of the tramline subproject, they are willing to pay the transport cost for the maintenance and operation of the tramline.
A carriage fee of one peso per kilogram for vegetables, and a minimum of P20 pesos per sack for other loads such as farm inputs or construction materials with freight not exceeding 300 kilograms will be collected from the beneficiaries. Proceeds will be used for the fuel and maintenance of the tramline.
The Wakal tramline is among the 18 completed infrastructure subprojects funded and implemented under the PRDP in the Cordillera. It is the 6th completed infrastructure subproject turned over in the province of Benguet, and the first of its kind.
A tramline is an alternative transport system for farmers in areas isolated from road network because of ravines, rivers, and dense vegetation. It is a hauling facility using cables and pulleys to transport agricultural products and farm inputs from isolated farms to the nearest road. By ELVY S. TAQUIO