LA TRINIDAD, Benguet– The continuous upgrading of the various aspects of agriculture in the country’s major vegetable-producing province got a big boost after Agriculture Secretary William Dar committed to provide some P125 million for the put up of a processing and packaging center within the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC), the conduct of a study for the breeding of international animals, the establishment of a drip irrigation for lettuce and state-of-the-art greenhouse for strawberry production.
Dar formally turned over the checks amounting to P80 million to Benguet State University (BSU) president Dr. Felipe S. Comila and BAPTC chief operating officer Dr. Violeta Salda during the groundbreaking of the proposed packaging and processing center where the P40 million will be used for the establishment of the aforesaid facilities within the first 6 months of next year.
Earlier, the DA official committed to provide some P20 million to fund the put up of a simple processing center that will provide value added for the province’s vegetable produce and another P20 million for the establishment of a packaging facility that will work on the provision of equipment that will extend the shelf life of the highland vegetables produced by the thousands of farmers transacting business in the center.
Further, the DA Secretary disclosed that the P40 million from the initially released amount will be used as the BAPTC’s capital fund to purchase assorted highland vegetables from the farmers that are trading their produce in the center aside from the procurement of additional units of equipment to be used to improve the shelf life of the locally produced vegetables for the same to be able to command a higher buying price from traders purchasing their supplies from the facility.
An additional P5 million was also released by Secretary Dar to BSU for the conduct of a study for the breeding of international animals that will be able to thrive in the country where the State-run higher education institution will be able to pioneer the same.
During his interaction with the BSU family, Secretary Dar also announced the inclusion of some P40 million in the agency’s budget next year where P20 million will be used to put up a drip irrigation project for the production of lettuce within the Balili area while another P20 million will be used to put up a state-of-the-art greenhouse for strawberry production at their swamp area.
Aside from the put up of the pilot greenhouse for strawberry production at the swamp area, Comila claimed that Secretary Dar promised to replicate the same in the province’s 13 municipalities with the same production site to expand the production area of strawberry to cater to the increasing demand for the tropical fruit.
Comila assured the DA official that BSU will continue to be a key partner of the government in the conduct of studies and researches to discover new technologies that will be able to help local farmers in the country improve their production, packaging and marketing of their produce for them to be able to derive reasonable income that will be used to improve the living condition of their families, especially those solely relying on farming as their primary source of livelihood. By HENT