LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The project steering committee of the P600 million Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center wants farmers in the different parts of the province to organize themselves for them to be able to designate their representative to the policy-making body of the center once it will be in full blast operation anytime.
Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan said the easiest way for farmers to be able to designate their representative to the committee is for all the farmers associations and cooperatives to form a council and agree upon themselves on a rotation basis for their president to sit as member of the committee
Initially, he said there are over 40 farmers associations and cooperatives in the different parts of the province which can organize themselves into a council that will be the one to determine their representative to the project steering committee with a one year term to allow everyone to sit as a member of the committee through a rotation basis.
Cosalan explained there is a difficulty in federating the different farmers groups because it might take some time for them to do so and the operation of the trading center is just around the corner, thus, their representative must already be put in place considering that the existing officers are on an interim capacity.
“For our part, we were able to complete our commitment for the opening of a roadline from the national highway to the trading facility worth P40 million in order to ensure the accessibility of the trading center,” Cosalan stressed.
Cosalan also revealed he was able to source out P16 million to build a separate road linking the Bolo crek to the trading facility to have an alternate route for farmers so as not to congest the other main roads in bringing their produce to the center.
Cosalan said the inauguration and operation of the trading center will be dependent on the schedule of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III that is why the project steering committee is doing its best to put things in order to guarantee the smooth operation of the facility.
According to him, being the biggest trading center in the country, the President should be the one to inaugurate the center the show his firm commitment to the continuous development of the country’s agriculture sector, especially the lucrative vegetable industry of the province.
He cited the importance of making the facility operational because it will contribute in ensuring the competitiveness of locally produced vegetables in the global market, citing that the presence of packaging and processing centers within the facility will make highland vegetables competitive in order to sustain the robust growth of the province’s agriculture industry.
The province’s farmers are given a seat in the project steering committee considering their vital role in sustaining the abundant supply of semi-temperate vegetables that could be packaged and processed by the existing facilities of the trading center. Other stakeholders that are given representations include the office of the congressman, the provincial government, the municipal government of the capital town, the State-run Benguet State University (BSU) and the Department of Agriculture.
By Dexter A. See