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LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Benguet Caretaker Congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap recently filed House Bill (HB) 7136, or the Marketing and Utilization of Local Agricultural Produce Act of 2020, that seeks to mandate hotels, restaurants and catering services to purchase the agricultural produce of farmers in their areas of operation.
Yap, who chairs the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, stated the proposed law would ensure the agriculture industry will be guaranteed with sustained income and ensure no unnecessary wastage of crops, aside from making sure that the food being served by the different food establishments are fresh.
Under the proposed bill, a mechanism will be put in place to ensure the direct linkage of the business owners and farmers and producers that are within their midst for the realization of the effective and efficient marketing of the fresh agriculture produce of agricultural industry stakeholders.
The lawmaker pointed out that for areas that have difficulty in accessing agricultural produce for their constituents, a centralized system will be established in certain areas in the aforesaid provinces to ensure there will be uninterrupted access of agricultural supply for clients.
“We are also promoting the idea that for areas with distant agricultural produce, resources be available through a centralized system which connects several provinces as central source,” Congressman Yap stressed.
According to him, Benguet farmers are expected to directly and indirectly benefit from the passage of the proposed bill because there will be guaranteed market for their produce year-round thus avoiding wastage of agricultural crops, especially when wholesale buying prices will drop because of reported oversupply.
Congressman Yap claimed the enactment of the proposed law will also prevent the frequent oversupply of agricultural crops in the province at certain times because the produce of the farmers will be guaranteed the appropriate market from the hotels, restaurants and catering services that are situated in their areas, especially that Baguio City, Benguet and other parts of the Cordillera are premier tourist destinations in the country frequented by foreign and domestic tourists.
He emphasized that government must provide the substantial mechanisms from production to marketing to ensure that farmers can earn sufficient income from their produce.
Congressman Yap recognized the fact that Benguet, some parts of Ifugao and Mountain Province, are the source of over 80 percent of the supply of highland vegetables being sold in the country earning Benguet the title “Salad Bowl of the Philippines”.
He remained optimistic that the present Congress will act on the proposed bill because it is primarily geared towards promoting the interest of the agricultural sectors in the country.
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