Dapa, Siargao Island, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Surigao del Norte and Winrock International officially opens the PHP 31 Million Trading Center in Dapa, Siargao Island.
413 farmers and 14 groups of fishers in 8 municipalities of the island would benefit from the project. Fruits, vegetables, root crops and fishery products can now be traded in the center.
The center is like a dream-come-true among the farmers and fishers. “God has granted us this dream, we can now see a standing establishment where we can display all our agricultural goods,” said Governor Sol Matugas.
Matugas encouraged the sellers of the center to plant and increase production so the establishment will be filled with locally produced goods with high value and quality.
Farmers in the island mostly rely on what they called as “mamikilay” or the ones who trade their goods to the market and return to them for payment after the goods are sold.
Traders of the goods have stores in the market which the farmer gamble to pass up the selling of their produce. “Most of the time we need to entrust our produce to the traders since we don’t have stores where we can display our goods,” said Elmar Salado, a farmer from San Benito.
The one hectare trading center answers the long-time desire of the farmers in the island. “We are so much grateful that the government has seen our need and granted the desire of our hearts; we now have a place to sell our goods” Salado said.
The center also has a cold storage with 15 tons capacity and chilling room with 10 tons capacity courtesy of Winrock International under the Philippine Cold Chain Project (PCCP).
There are just 21 trading centers all over the Philippines; 11 are already launched and 10 are still being built. “This facility has truly inspired us. Let all operations and transactions in this establishment be done accordingly so we can sustain this project and allow the next generation to still benefit from this,” said DA Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness Leandro Gazmin.
Gazmin, who led the inauguration and turnover activity stressed that sustainability demands better financial management and marketing, and improved knowledge in management through experience and constant coordination among members and stakeholders.
“Managing what is entrusted to us may be complex; but let us just be reminded that the Provincial Agriculture Office and the Department of Agriculture will always be around to assist and guide us,” said Provincial Agriculturist Rebecca Bagnol.
The establishment of trading center aimed to increase agricultural productivity of fruits and vegetables, poultry and fishery products, and to create new agricultural producer groups and strengthen existing ones.
The island has been blessed with assistance from the government. “We have been entrusted with a project and all we have to do is to be responsible of what is given to us,” Gazmin said. (Fretcher Magatao 02/15/2017, ruralevolution.net)