LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Thousands of farmers and traders from this vegetable-producing province are expected to benefit from an agreement being finalized by Benguet caretaker congressman and Anti-Crime and Terrorism through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Party-list Rep. Eric Yap and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte that will boost the sale and distribution of locally produced vegetables.
While the agreement is still being finalized and despite their different political affiliations, Yap said the Quezon City government will directly buy vegetables and other produce from Benguet for the city’s relief operations and feeding program.
“I am very excited and thankful, it was a weekend well spent. We will finalize an agreement with the Quezon City government where they will regularly purchase Benguet vegetables and other products for their needs. Yung mga relief operations nila, mga feeding program ng local government, their vegetable needs, manggagaling na sa Benguet,” Yap said.
Aside from purchasing vegetables for relief and feeding programs, Quezon City will also hold a farmers market every week of April for Benguet farmers and traders to sell their vegetables directly to the residents of Quezon City and other parts of Metro Manila who are interested to purchase quality locally produced agricultural crops.
“Quezon City will also launch a fresh market during weekends this summer season, free ang rent ng space natin, walang babayaran yung farmers and may free living quarters din for our farmers, marami pang iba,” Yap added.
The solon added aside from Quezon City, agreement with other major cities in the country will also be forged for Benguet farmers to market their produce in the said areas to provide additional avenues for farmers and traders to sell their products.
“We will do this with other major cities as well, nandiyan naman ang demand, kailangan lang mai-connect ng tama para makarating yung supply galing sa atin at walang lugi ang farmers,” the lawmaker stated.
Yap further said these are just some of the few programs that are in the pipeline to help Benguet farmers who are still feeling the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and smuggling.
“Yung efforts to help our local agriculture industry, hindi lang limited dapat sa long term solutions like farm-to-market roads and better storage facilities. Parallel dapat may ibang perspective din sa pag-solve sa problema, we have to expand our market for our produces. Bukod din sa coordination natin with national government sa anti vegetable smuggling efforts” the caretaker congressman said.
Belmonte meanwhile welcomed such agreement as this will also help the vegetable industry in reaching out to more markets in the country.
“We are very delighted to be working closely with Congressman Eric Yap on aspects with mutual benefits for us like this. We will welcome Benguet products and hopefully makatulong kami and mai-promote din sa local businesses sa Quezon City,” Belmonte said.
Benguet is the producer of more than 80 percent of the semi-temperate vegetables being sold in the various markets around the country over the past several decades that earned the province’s title as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines.