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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Despite opposition in some quarters to its operations, the Benguet AgriPinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) is moving forward in achieving its vision of improving farmers’ lives.
“Dik kita, dik pati (to see is to believe),” says Ardan Copas, BAPTC Trading Post Operation Management Director, explaining the mindset of some stakeholders who do not immediately believe the purposes of BAPTC without witnessing its accomplishments. He explained further that farmers cannot easily turn away from the relationship that was formed from years of transaction and trading under all system.
Addressing this concern, alongside other issues related to the trading center, Copaz said that the BAPTC had been reaching out to farmers and to other vegetable industry stakeholders.
The BAPTC Management is working at several ways to address the issues through consultation meetings, communication campaigns, and trainings.
Foremost were a series of consultation meetings that were conducted with the BAPTC Project Steering Committee (PSC), Project Management Office (PMO) and all concerned stakeholders. Various issues were tackled and addressed for the betterment of the start-up operations of the trading center.
On the other hand, accreditation is on-going even while some adjustments are being worked out to smoothen its process and reduce requirements. There are already 438 individuals and farmers’ groups from Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya and Kalinga that were accredited as BAPTC partners as of March 22, 2016.
“After every information caravan conducted introducing BAPTC, the application for farmers’ accreditation is considerably increasing, especially for the group of farmers”, Mildred Licangan, BAPTC Accreditation Officer mentioned.
The BAPTC PMO is also conducting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training to farmers, advancing the objective of the center to provide safe and affordable commodities to consumers.
In addition, BAPTC in partnership with the Department of Agriculture DA is assisting accredited farmers and traders in applying for a loan under the Agricultural-Fisheries Financing Program (AFFP) to support their production inputs and operation needs.
According to Octavia Ablos, BAPTC Institutional Development Extension Service Director, the Landbank of the Philippines allotted three hundred thousand pesos (Php300, 000.00) as the maximum financial assistance for accredited farmers and farmer groups. Traders and market facilitators, on the other hand, has a maximum loan amount of five million pesos.
Ablos said that BAPTC is open for suggestions for improvement to answer the real needs of the farmers. She further explained that the collated suggestions and comments of the stakeholders are important inputs to the trading center’s current and future plans.
By Jenny M. Dayao