Agriculture will become “sexy again”, Quezon Rep. David “Jayjay” Suarez declared Monday as the province is set to showcase soon the largest agricultural trading post that would attract consumers and producers in various parts of the country and provide “long-term food security roadmap” to empower farmers.
Suarez and Agriculture Secretary William Dar led the ground break of the P100 million Sariaya Agricultural Trading Center and Facilities (SATCF) in Sampaloc 2, Sariaya, Quezon. They were joined by Sariaya Mayor Marcelo Gayeta.
Suarez, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said he supported the establishment of a bigger trading post after the lease for the current agricultural center also located in Sariaya is about to expire.
“Sariaya will play a very important role in our development. Agricultural productivity will be coming from interaction with other sectors, not just in our region but also from other parts of Luzon,” the former governor said in his speech.
Consumers from Metro Manila, Calabarzon and those from as far as Regions I and II are expected to troop to Sariaya soon, he said.
The SATCF is strategically positioned to be the food hub of Southern Luzon because of connecting networks such as the newly-constructed 13.9 kilometer concrete road of four barangays in Sariaya through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), which is also poised to be connected to the aqua-fisheries industry.
Suarez assured his constituents that the success of the Sariaya trading post will also benefit the other localities and further improve the agriculture and food production sector in Quezon.
He cited the P780 million project of the Philippine Fisheries Development Authority in Lucena City as an example of the bid to improve all sectors in agriculture.
According to Suarez, the PFDA project will “play a regional role in trading of marine
goods and commodity.
He said the construction of the SATCF will start early 2021 and is timed to help the government’s economic recovery efforts amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic
In the same event, Suarez also underscored the need to make a career in agriculture attractive to young people, as the average farmer is getting older.
The farmers who will immediately benefit from the project, more than 80% of them are within the 40-60 age range.
“Food security is needed to secure the present, but we need younger farmers to ensure our future. This trading post is a part of the bigger picture, because our real goal in providing opportunities and concrete programs is to return the dignity of our agricultural workers,” he said.
“ We want young people to see it as a fruitful career. That will only happen if they see massive government assistance in the development of agriculture, and when they see farming as an industry where they can find success and wealth,” Suarez said.
For his part, Dar emphasized the role of farmers and agriculture to help augment the damages of the pandemic.