The Department of Agriculture assured farmers’ groups and associations from the Cordillera Administrative Region that the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) will only improve the existing farm and trading systems of the region to help farmers increase their profit. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala appealed to the farmers to support the facility and be open to changes during the Highland Vegetable Investment Forum cum Trade Fair held in BAPTC on May 16-17, 2016.
He added that the new system to be implemented is not against the middlemen.
Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Leandro Gazmin explained that the Department is likewise preparing the farmers for world market competition.
“As such, we have to ensure that our farmers follow the food safety in the world market,” he said.
Alcala hopes that through the BAPTC, farmers would not be taken advantaged but also to have more market linkages.
“We believe that farmers can stand on their own at the proper time,” Alcala said.
In his two-day visit in Benguet, Alcala attended series of dialogues with investors, buyers, and farmer leaders present in the event. He also led the launching of a prototype machine, developed by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech).
The machine can wash and dry carrots and other root crops, reducing the drudgery of traditional washing.
The BAPTC, which stands on a four-hectare lot, is envisioned to be a modern trading center for various agri produce and complement the country’s participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community integration. (DA)