The government will establish two farmers’ and fishermen’s trading centers in Taguig City and Bulacan in an effort to provide facilities for food producers coming from Northern and Southern Luzon.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said the facilities would includ
e not only areas for vegetables but also for fish, chicken, fruits, meat, sea products and even cut flowers and it would be equipped with cold storage facilities.
“We are looking at Taguig City as one possible location for a center that will serve farmers from Bicol, Quezon and other food producing provinces south of Luzon,” Piñol said.
He said Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano has already approved the idea and is looking forward to the collaboration, which follows the concept of the Food Terminal Inc.
For produce coming from the North, the DA is eyeing Meycauayan in Bulacan and Valenzuela City as possible locations for the trading center.
“I will still be discussing this with Department of Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, but there is an old PNR [Philippine National Railways] facility in Bulacan which can be used,” Piñol said.
“To quickly serve our farmers, we may set up temporary tents at the Bureau of Plant Industry compound in San Andres, Manila for the meantime,” he said.
Piñol said the food terminals will give vegetable farmers a wider market for their produce.
“We have to continue finding ways to help our farmers market their produce and provide them sustainable sources of livelihood,” Piñol told hundreds of agriculture industry stakeholders at the multi-million Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center in La Trinidad, Benguet on Thursday.
Aside from putting up food terminals near Manila, the agriculture official said, the government will continue providing adequate financial and technical support to the farmers to improve the quality of their produce and allow highland vegetables to be traded in the international market through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Free Trade Agreement.
Benguet, some parts of Mountain Province and Ifugao supply over 82 percent of the country’s demand for highland vegetables since semi-temperate vegetables thrive in the cooler weather of the three provinces.