DA lines up more reg'l barangay food terminals to expand poor's access to cheaper goods
By Minerva BC Newman
Cebu, Philippines (31 October) -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) has lined up more regional barangay food terminals (BFT) in 28 areas across the country to expand the poor's access to cheaper but premium quality farm and fishery products.
According to DA secretary Arthur Yap, the department will put up 42 BFTs across the country for 2007 to augment 13 such facilities that are already operational in urban poor communities across Metro Manila.
Yap said that BFT facilities are put up in synch with President Arroyo's agenda for the Philippine agriculture which, is to open up more markets for the farmers and fisherfolks here and abroad and to provide consumers with cheaper but good quality farm products.
The program also involves the provisions of special routes as food lanes and the use of cold storage facilities in strategic locations to better preserve perishable farm produce. This is implemented in partnerships with the local government units, Yap added.
In Cebu province for instance, the DA-7 has already allocated P1-million for the construction of another cold storage facility at the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City that would store vegetables and fruits from the towns that are not accommodated at supermarkets, bagsakan centers or in various wet markets in the city.
The storage facility project had its groundbreaking in May this year. It is a joint project of the local government units of Cebu City and the town of Dalaguete and the DA-7.
Agriculture facilities such as BFTs and cold storage boost farm productivity and ensure greater profitability for Filipino farmers/fisherfolk, Yap said.
By December this year, the DA will set up nine more BFTs adding them to the existing 11 food terminals in the capital region that would benefit more than 495,000 families, the DA secretary disclosed.
The regional food terminals will also be put up in the following areas; three in La Union and Bulacan; one in Cavite and two in Laguna; two in Oriental Mindoro and one in Romblon; two in Iloilo and one in Antique; three in Cebu; three in Leyte, two in Samar and one in Biliran; three in Zamboanga del Norte and one in Davao del Norte.
Yap estimates that some 61,144 families or more than 300,000 people will benefit from these regional barangay food terminals.
Meanwhile, the province of Cebu through Governor Gwen Garcia is set to bring economic growth to the countryside by launching the first small and medium enterprise (SME) industrial park situated at the New Cebu Township One (NCTO) special economic zone area in barangay Cantao-an, Naga City mid this year.
"We are making the countryside a viable investment alternative to the overburdened and congested city," the governor said in an interview with the media. (PIA-Cebu) [top]