PILI, Camarines Sur: At least 18,000 farmers and fishermen stand will benefit from the P44.2 million Agri-Pinoy Trading Center inVinzons, Camarines Norte.
Department of Agriculture (DA) regional director for Bicol Abelardo Bragas said the center has a 675-square-meter building for food storage, cold storage, office and trading floor while another building has farmers’ lounge, canteen, power station and a guard house.
The complex also has a wide parking area for both small and large-type vehicles used in the transport of products from the farm.
The center was jointly initiated by the DA Regional Field Unit and the provincial government of Camarines Norte.
Patterned after the very successful “Sentrong Pamilihan ng Quezon” initiated by then Quezon representative and now Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, the facility now serves as an alternative marketing system where small farmers and fisher folk sell their products directly to consumers at reasonable wholesale prices.
Alcala, Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman, Director Leandro Gazmin of DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service Office, and Camarines Norte Governor Edgardo Tallado graced the formal opening of the center on May 14.
The facility, the first of its kind in Bicol region under President Benigno Aquino 3rd, will benefit 10,000 farmers tilling 5,000 hectares of productive agricultural lands and 8,000 fishermen using San Miguel Bay and the Pacific Ocean as fishing grounds.
Bragas added the facility will lessen the trading layers and participation of intermediaries resulting in higher farm gate and market price as additional logistics and transfer cost; transport and hauling subsidy of at least five percent will be enjoyed by farmers owing to the provision of trucking facility in the collection and distribution of farm produce.
During the inauguration, Alcala distributed hand tractors with trailers and other post-harvest and processing equipment, greenhouse, farm implements, certified seeds, assorted vegetables, piglets, packet of sheep, carabaos with farm implements and other items worth over P52.6 million to farmers’ organizations and individuals.