Project ASPIRE launched in Cordillera

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – To bridge the gap between agribusiness key players, particularly farmers, processors, and consumers, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched its newest project called ASPIRE, today, January 24, 2018 at the Provincial Capitol here.

ASPIRE or Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment in Regional Exposition is a partnership project of the DA, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and the provincial government of Benguet.

DA Regional Executive Director for the Cordillera (DA-CAR), Narciso A. Edillo said that in CAR, ASPIRE aims to maximize opportunities to promote local products of the region in all possible profitable markets.

During his opening message during the project launching this morning, Edillo said that with this new project, the production and market of major commodities distinctively Cordilleran, like semi-temperate vegetables, heirloom rice, coffee, strawberries, among others, can be promoted and/or enhanced.

“Sana hindi lang tayo titigil sa produksyon, kailangan din natin pagtuunan ng pansin ang marketing aspect ng ating mga produkto,” Edillo added.

Carolyn Castro, DA Chief of Market Development Division, who gave an overview of the ASPIRE, said that this convergence project aims to integrate market development services to farmers, promote agri-fresh produce and agri-based processed products, develop farmers to become entrepreneurs, assist small enterprise in forming a linkage network, promote/advocate investment opportunities to encourage market investments, and, maximize benefits in organizing and participating in trade fairs and exhibits.

DA Undersecretary for Agribusiness and Marketing and Regional Engagement Bernadette Romulo-Puyat graced the occasion as guest of honor and keynote speaker.

She said that DA, pursuant to the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, seeks to continue expanding existing agribusiness and employment opportunities as agriculture and fisheries produce are used as raw materials in the manufacturing sector. This is also in line with the DA mandate to provide available and affordable food for the people. “Kailangan nating pataasin ang kita ng ating mga farmers and fisherfolk. This is expected to help reduce poverty in the country”, added Puyat.

She explained that the role of agribusiness and marketing is not only to focus on product promotion but also to enhance logistics and enterprise development.

The PCCI Benguet Chapter gave its full support for the implementation of the ASPIRE through its President , Mr. Deimler Cuyan. “We can serve as vehicle to market your products,” he said. He also added that PCCI can serve as a linkage in marketing products and at the same time be a channel of communication between producers and other marketing networks.

ASPIRE was designed by the DA’s Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service with the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Divisions in the region as lead orchestrator.

The launching of ASPIRE in the Cordillera was attended by producers, exhibitors, buyers, and guests from the six CAR provinces and the City of Baguio. The other guests and participants came from the key offices of this project convergence.

Also present were Benguet Governor Crescencio C. Pacalso; DA Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Andrew Villacorta; ATI-CAR Director Arlene Flores; DA Consultant for Luzon Cluster A Rufino M. Panagan, DA- CAR Regional Technical Director for Operations Danilo P. Daguio, DA-AMAS Director Christopher Morales, DTI-CAR Director Myrna Pablo; guests from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 4B, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13; International Rice Research Institute; the Cordillera office of the Department of Tourism, Bureau of Plant Industry Regional and Field Office; UP Los Banos; Sanguniang Panlalawigan ng Benguet headed by the Benguet Vice Governor Florence Tingbaoen, and among others.

By Herman Danis

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