Benguet cold-chain plant seen operational by end October
by SC Aro
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (15 October) -- The minimal processing and packaging facility which forms part of the cold chain system of the province may soon be operational within the end of the month with the installation yet of some equipment.
Governor Nestor B. Fongwan said an amount of P2.6 million was added as the last tranche for the purchase of equipment to make the facility operational.
Bureau of Post Harvest Research and Extension representative Arnel Apaga said the facility is already 90 percent completed. Practically, all basic equipment for processing is in place except for the air conditioning unit and exhaust fan, he added.
But prior to its operation, a pre-test will still be needed to determine what needs to be improved in order to perfect the operations, Apaga said.
Fongwan said the province will come up with operating guidelines in the utilization of the center. This will be followed by a scheme in accessing high end users in order to maximize the use of the facility with the ultimate goal of adding value to vegetable crops.
He said that the cold chain system starts in Loo, Buguias as the production site, then to La Trinidad until Metro Manila. He stressed the need to establish a cold storage somewhere in Metro Manila to complete the cold chain system.
Apaga said a feasibility study will still be undertaken to determine the viability of drop off point. He said this could probably be located in Visayas Avenue, Quezon City at the BPI Complex.
Moreover, Apaga said that a pre-cooling facility will be established in six major vegetable producing municipalities that would eventually provide a complete packaging facility. These are the towns of Buguias, Atok, Kibungan, Kabayan, Bakun, and Itogon. In Buguias, this will complement the cold storage facility.
For the tramline system, Apaga said establishment of tramline in Itogon is ongoing. This will also be established in areas with the cold chain system which will be completed before the year ends, he added.
Apaga said these projects are closely being monitored by the Office of the President in line with the North Luzon Agri-Business Quadrangle commitment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to spur agricultural development in the region. (PIA-Benguet) [top]