Steering committee amends MOA for Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center


By jtabangcura - Posted on 11 February 2015

 

The members of the steering committee of the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center or BAPTC signed the amendments to the center’s MOA on February 3, 2015 in a ceremony held right at the project site located at the BSU Strawberry Fields, Betag, La Trinidad. In behalf of the different agencies involved, the signatories, who are also the members of the steering committee are: Hon. Emerson U. Palad, Undersecretary, Operations-Department of Agriculture (DA); Hon. Leandro H. Gazmin, Director, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service-DA; Madame Marilyn V. Sta. Catalina, Regional Director of DA-CAR; Hon. Ronald M. Cosalan, Representative, Lone District of Benguet; Hon. Nestor B. Fongwan, Benguet Governor; Hon. Edna C. Tabanda, La Trinidad Mayor; Dr. Ben D. Ladilad, Benguet State University President; Dr. Luciana M. Villanueva, BSU VP for Research and Extension; and Mr. John M. Sagpa-ey, Chairman-Benguet Farmers’ Marketing Cooperative.

The initial MOA establishing the BAPTC was signed on September 14, 2012 by the same parties. The amendments incorporate modifications regarding the BAPTC’s structure that were decided after due deliberation. BAPTC is for the benefit of everyone

The MOA signing was followed by the C.A.R.E Kapihan facilitated by the DA-CAR and PIA-CAR then the consultation with farmers. Serving as panelists to the Kapihan were the signatories themselves to the MOA with the PIA-CAR Director, Madame Helen Tibaldo and Mr. Jonathan Llanes as hosts. During the 2-hour long interaction, the panelists emphasized to the members of the media that the BAPTC is designed to benefit all stakeholders concerned…in brief, the Center is for everyone!

“The basic objective of the Trading Center is not the provision of a facility but how through this wide-ranged avenue we could improve the income, capability, and competitiveness of farmers,” said ASec. Gazmin. Mayor Tabanda of La Trinidad described the BAPTC as one facility that will function like the La Trinidad Trading Post but with much better equipment and technical assistance to the farmers.

The BAPTC sits on a 5-ha land within BSU’s Strawberry Fields at Barangay Betag. Once completed, it will primarily have trading, tolling, and processing operations along with functional spaces for dormitories, cafeterias, parking, and other similar equipment rental services. Presently, the Center is on its business startup and transformative phases. A dry-run operation will be conducted this year as the Steering Committee stated that the business plan is not yet defined.

ASec. Gazmin further explained that the business plan will be based on a series of consultations with stakeholders especially the farmers whose needs in all aspects are appropriately addressed as they are the main reasons in establishing these trading centers all over the country. Moreover, Gov. Fongwan described the Center to be a demand-driven facility while Mayor Tabanda assured that there will be participative governance in managing it. Role of BSU at the BAPTC

Aside from the 4-hectare land for the BAPTC, the BSU will also be providing the needful technical assistance to operate the center. BSU President, Dr. Ben D. Ladilad, reiterated that the BAPTC will be an opportunity for BSU to further develop its partnership with the LGUs, farmers, and other government agencies like the DOST and the DA. He added that the Trading Center shall be a relevant training ground for students.

Dr. Ladilad stresses that the BAPTC had been a long quest for BSU’s part. Now, BAPTC will be one facility in using the research for development outputs of the University.

In retrospect, the BSU first proposed the idea of processing vegetables to minimize post-harvest losses incurred year after year among Benguet farmers. This situation was evidenced in the daily operations of the Benguet Vegetable Processing Center founded in 2008 through the initiatives of former BSU President, Dr. Rogelio D. Colting and Dr. Violeta B. Salda with the support of Benguet Gov. Nestor B. Fongwan and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.