APAYAO, Aug. 25 - -Eight warehouses worth P86.63-million are due for construction in Apayao through the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) to help improve the connectivity of farmers to markets.
Apayao Provincial Agriculturist Prudencio Bosing said that one major issue they face in agricultural development is the distance of production sites to. He shared that individual farmers cannot bring their products to big markets considering hauling costs and required volume.
Bosing shared that currently traders mostly control farmgate prices. “Some of banana fruits sold in Pangasinan, Clark and Manila are sourced here. One big issue is that farmers lose potential profits—we can’t control the traders,” he said. Banana traders he said usually buy the fruits by piece not by weight.
The provincial local government unit (PLGU) hopes that this perennial issue can be minimized with the warehouses serving as consolidation centers for agricultural produce such as coffee and banana.
The eight warehouses, according to the Bosing, will be erected in strategic locations carefully selected with a set of prioritization criteria in each of Apayao’s seven municipalities. Luna town, the provincial capital and main commercial center, will have two warehouses.
Costing between P9.85 million to P12 million, the construction of the warehouses seeks to increase the income of farmers as buying prices are increased to about 50 percent and losses and product deterioration are reduced from about 25 to 10%.
The facilities are also expected to help maintain the quality of grains and other products especially during the wet season.
Marcela Daggay, a farmer from Calafug village in Conner town, said that they have always wanted a common facility where they can store or sell their products.
“Traders could then pick up our products at once. We could save money as we no longer have to pay for hauling fees,” she said.
Besides product consolidation and storage, Bosing said that the warehouses would also assist the PLGU and local processors in their value-adding efforts.
“In terms of processing, while it is true that farms are here, consolidating the products is challenging. Our local processing industries also have a hard time gathering [raw materials]. With produce consolidated in the warehouses, processors could source their materials from these facilities,” Bosing remarked.
To ensure sustainability of the subprojects, the PLGU continues to organize and train farmers, enabling them to meet the volume needed once the warehouses become operational. Likewise, farmers’ associations will be involved in the operations and maintenance of the facilities. (pia/Jan P. Dacumos-NPCO InfoACE Unit)