By Johanne Margarette R. Macob
URDANETA CITY, Pangasinan, July 9 (PNA)–Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala led the opening of the two-storey Pangasinan Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (PAPTC) here on Wednesday which will help the farmers market their products without the intervention anymore of middlemen.
Secretary Alcala said the P29.6-million DA-funded building located in Barangay Poblacion in the city will serve not only farmers in Pangasinan but also from other provinces of Region 1.
Urdaneta was chosen by DA as site for the project because of its strategic location, being the “gateway to the north”.
This project can spell out change of life of farmers for the better as their products need not pass the hands of middlemen who usually corner big profits out of their produce.
The facility was just one of at least 10 trading centers being put up by DA in various parts of the country this year, said Alcala adding that next year, 15 more Agri-Pinoy Trading Centers are set to be built.
Alcala also said that the PAPTC “will just be a part of a whole cycle” wherein the farmers themselves will bring their produce to the market, thus discouraging the intervention of middle men.
As stated in the Urdaneta City government website, the PAPTC project is geared at “raising the average income of vegetable farmers in Pangasinan and reducing the retail/consumer prices of vegetables.”
The center is also deemed to increase agricultural yields, eliminate unnecessary intermediaries, increase local employment opportunities and enhance technical and managerial capabilities of partner local associations of small farmers and fisherfolk.
Alcala said that a technical group will soon be sent to the province to help enhance the profitability of products of farmers by imparting to them modern agricultural technologies, among others.
Meanwhile, fifth district board member Clemente Arboleda Jr., who represented Governor Amado Espino Jr. in the blessing and inauguration ceremonies, expressed the provincial government’s gratitude to the DA for putting up the project.
He said the center is “highly significant in the momentum of sustainable growth,” citing the province’s increasing agriculture yields, particularly of rice, corn, vegetables, and fish.
The provincial board member cited Pangasinan’s increasing production of rice from about 811,000 metric tons (mt) in 2012 to 1,136,000 mt in 2013, making the province as DA’s National Rice Achiever’s Awardee.
“The PAPTC will be a big boost in making the province and the rest of the country self-sufficient in food, not only in rice,” he also remarked.
Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Gregorio Perez IV thanked the DA for “turning the farmers’ dream into reality.”
This will indicate improved life of farmers, that is why their welfare must be given utmost priority, Perez said.
In the same occasion, the DA also turned over certified and registered seeds, and the P1.5-million-worth organic trading post to the Urdaneta City government. (PNA)