LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A group of farmers from Buguias town who trained in Japan are expected to contribute economically in the province after procuring a hauling truck and other farm mechanisms, with the Department of Agriculture providing the needed funds.
Cameron Odsey, regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture-Cordiller, said the group called Buguias Japan Agricultural Trainees Association Incorporated [BJATA] now has one unit of hauling truck to be used in marketing and deliveries of the association’s farm produce.
Aside from the truck which is worth P2,293,000, a consolidation and packaging facility worth P1,200,000 (with P200,000 counterpart from the association) had also been constructed at Bekes, Buyacaoan, Buguias, Benguet.
Odsey led the inauguration of the facility as well as the vehicle which will be used in sorting, storing, and transporting their produce to end markets in the country last April 28.
Odsey welcomed the start of the association directly connecting to open markets and expressed hope the BJATA members would also open new economic avenues to enable them to compete with traders.
“I asked BJATA to value the project given by the government and share their blessings with the community,” said Odsey.
The association, which is a micro-scale industry player, is led by its president, Gaspar Paquito, and Drino Quinsan, its vice president.
The group produces lowland and highland vegetables targeted for institutional buyers.
BJATA, composed of 50 members all undergoing extensive training in Japan through exchange programs, was formed with a vision of promoting the combined Japan -Benguet farm technology and produce healthy and quality vegetables.
The group’s mission is to help in promoting a healthy community by feeding people with safe produce.
Joan Bacbac, High-Value Crop Development Program (HVDCP) coordinator and chief of the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD), said the vehicle and the storage facility under the ‘Enhanced Kadiwa Program’ will be used to make food available and accessible to the Filipinos.
With the truck and storage facility, farm produce would be literally brought near the consumers for them to enjoy fresh farm products.
The program likewise aims to give lower prices to consumers while widening the margin of profit for farmers by capacitating them to reach end-users, eliminating traders and middlemen in the vegetable supply chain.
Under the program the DA finds venues to help bring the farmers’ produce and conduct retail selling in accessible areas like markets and grocery stores and by giving trade capital for business startups.