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Agri project to cut middlemen.

Byline: DJ Yap

THOUSANDS of vegetable growers and livestock raisers will soon reach their buyers without going through middlemen, thanks to the newly launched "Agri-Pinoy Trading Centers" of the Department of Agriculture (DA). The DA opened yesterday four of the trading centers, in Benguet, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija and North Cotabato.

The trading centers are designed to allow more than 12,000 farmers "skip through layers of middlemen" and bring their produce directly to markets, according to Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. Alcala said that the DA, in partnership with local governments and the private sector, would provide farmers with a venue where they could sell their commodities at fairer prices. "This is not just about the farmers and the traders. It's all part of a chain system," Alcala said. He said the project was aimed at lowering and stabilizing food prices and achieving food self-sufficiency.

The trading center at Benguet will be constructed in a four-hectare compound on the campus of Benguet State University (BSU). It will focus on trading upland or "chopsuey" (mixed) vegetables, including carrots, lettuce, chayote, and broccoli among others. It is expected to benefit more than 5,000 farmers from nearby provinces, according to the DA.

Trading posts

The Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija trading centers will be established on four hectares and two-and-a-half hectares, respectively, to serve as the main trading posts for lowland vegetables, such as squash, eggplant and bitter gourd. More than 3,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the the centers' initial operation.

The University of Southern Mindanao (USM) Halal Training and Development Center in North Cotabato will host the fourth facility. It will serve as a slaughterhouse and trading post for livestock animals like goat and sheep and will serve approximately 1,000 livestock farmers trading in nearby areas, according to the DA. Alcala said the trading centers would be patterned from a project he started as a Quezon representative.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Sep 15, 2012
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