P44.2-M agricultural trading facility launched in Bicol

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The Department of Agriculture has launched the first Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (APTC) in Vinzons, Camarines Norte to provide small farmers and fisherfolk an alternative marketing system where they can directly sell their products at reasonable wholesale prices.

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Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the P44.2-million facility in Sitio Mat-i in Barangay Sto. Domingo was partnered after the Sentrong Pamilihan in Sariaya, Quezon.

The facility, constructed inside a 1,200 hectares lot owned by the provincial government of Camarines Norte, will also serve as a government common-service complex.

The APTC includes a 675-square meters building equipped with food storage, cold storage, an office, and a trading floor. Another building has a farmers’ lounge with space for a canteen, powerhouse, and guardhouse.

The facility is also expected to benefit at least 10,000 farmers who are tilling almost 33,198 farms covering approximately 15,000 hectares of productive agricultural lands in the province.

“Positive impact will come in the form of lesser/minimal trading layers and intermediaries to minimize the farmers’ additional logistics and transfer cost,” Alcala said.

He noted that transport and hauling cost subsidy of at least 5 percent will be enjoyed by farmers because of the provision of trucking facility of the APTC in the collection and distribution of farm produce. It is also expected that a more organized trading system will be established among producers, traders and other players within the province, and neighboring provinces including Metro Manila.

The facility is being operated by the provincial government under the direct supervision of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, through the designated project manager, Engineer. Almirante A. Abad. An accredited farmers’ organization will later operate the facility under the supervision and direction of the PLGU.

He said that the success of the trading center will rely on the sustained support of other agriculture stakeholders, ranging from the LGUs to the private sector.

Highlighting the event was the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the implementation of Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP) by Alcala and Camarines Governor Edgardo Tallado. The provincial government has enrolled in this project coconut as its priority commodity to invest in, with geonet as its major product.

A MOA was also renewed, authorizing the provincial government to utilize 33.3 hectares of the DA facility—the Lowland Rainfed Research Station (formerly Daet Seed Farm) for agricultural purposes.

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