With the theme "Sustainable Production and Marketing towards Greater Excellence," the 3-day festival aims to appreciate the collective efforts of the different key players in the distribution of semi-temperate crops thru exhibits, vegetable games and contests, forums and orientation, and presentation of various produce and inputs for farmers and other stakeholders.
“Along with the anniversary is also a festivity entitled the “Highland Vegetable Festival” with the aim of promoting the produce of Benguet and nearby provinces which in the long run, serves as the main source of highland vegetables nationwide,” BAPTC Chief Operating Officer Violeta Salda said.
Through the collaborative efforts of the BAPTC Management Office with the Highland Vegetable Festival Stakeholders (HVFS) Association and the other stakeholders, the first year anniversary of the immense trading center was initiated in June 2017 and appreciatively, continuous trading of vegetables is sustained up to date which prompted the conduct of the second festival.
Department of Agriculture-Cordillera Regional Director Cameron Odsey lauded the BAPTC and the HVFS Association for holding the “important festival so that stakeholders can come together and share ideas on the state of the local vegetable industry and offer insights on how we must move forward.”
Odsey said that production of fresh semi-temperate vegetables remains as main source of livelihood and income for small farmers in Benguet, Bauko in Mountain Province and Tinoc in Ifugao and much of the produce from the highland farms are sold in Metro Manila markets with some brought to Bicol and the Visayas.
Compared to agricultural crops produced in other parts of the country, Odsey said the luscious highland vegetables are lucrative and generates better income for the farmers.
For his part, Governor Melchor Diclas assured support to farmers while other stakeholders of the provincial government will provide all out support to the vegetable industry which is the main industry of the province. He said they are looking at improving more farm-to-market roads to ease the burden of the farmers in bringing their produce to the market or to the BAPTC.
Meanwhile, DA Deputy Executive Director Annray Rivera, TienDA Focal Person, Odsey, Salda, Diclas and La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda opened the TienDA as an alternative market outlet for small farmers as part of the 3-day festival.
Odsey said that TienDA is a marketing concept that seeks to make food available and affordable to consumers. It is avenue for farmers and fisherfolks to directly sell their produce, and for consumers to directly access these products at farm gate prices. It is among the programs and projects being implemented by the DA that support the promotion and marketing of highland vegetables in the province of Benguet.
Other programs include the ASPIRE or the Agribusiness Support for Promotion and Investment to Regional Exposition and the infra projects to help farmers. (JDP/ RMC- PIA CAR)