BAGUIO CITY, Benguet – To upscale the production of the agriculture sector in Benguet, the Department of Agriculture–Cordillera (DA-CAR) in collaboration with the Office of Senator Imee R. Marcos held a dialogue with the 2021 and 2022 winners of the Young Farmers Challenge (YFC) Program and Enhanced KADIWA (EnKADIWA) project recipients on February 26, 2023, at Benguet State University.
Twenty-five farmer cooperatives and associations (FCAs) of EnKADIWA and 45 YFC awardees (individual and group) from Benguet and Baguio City were gathered to address their concerns and determine needed assistance.
The YFC and EnKADIWA were congressional initiatives of Senator Marcos to the Department’s budget to further assist the farmers in securing food supply in the country.
Senator Marcos pointed out that marketing is the most important for both fresh produce and processed products, and challenged the participants to think about their market before producing, “Think first if there are available markets before you produce. Let’s reverse the situation, marketing comes first before production. If there are no markets, think if you can create a market,” she stated, adding that there is a market, but processed products have more markets than the fresh produce as processed products have a longer shelf life.
In line with this, she also emphasized on the processing of fresh produce into other products including vegetable dehydration and powdered products to maximize their use. She said that FCAs may consider this to further expand their production and markets.
Hence, they were advised to collaborate with the YFC awardees, who are mostly into processing. Marcos proposed to facilitate the marketing of the products in Metro Manila, but the products of both the FCAs and YFC group must be consolidated especially for those who have smaller outputs. Marcos also requested the FCAs who have their own delivery vehicles to share theirs to maximize the travel.
Marcos also wants DA to collaborate with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology to ensure good manufacturing practices (GMP). The participants were encouraged to consolidate their request for her office to follow up on concerns with the said agencies.
Senator Marcos previously visited the provinces of Kalinga and Apayao for the same purpose.
In attendance are DA Assistant Secretary for Consumer Affairs Kristine Y. Evangelista, DA-CAR Regional Executive Director Cameron P. Odsey, Regional Technical Director for Operations Danilo P. Daguio, AMAD Chief Joan D. Bacbac, Benguet Governor Melchor D. Diclas, La Trinidad Municipal Mayor Romeo K. Salda, and BSU President Felipe S. Comila. By CEWaytan