The Benguet Heritage Food Promotion is the initiative of the Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHEC) 60 and its corporate social responsibility arm, the COHECO 60 Tawid foundation, purposely to improve the marketability of locally produced organic food products aside from providing visitors with a view of breath-taking ecotourist destinations such as the local version of rice terraces, majestic and towering mountains, waterfalls and other nature destinations.
COHECO 60 Environment Director Ernie Wijangco said the conduct of the Benguet Heritage Food Promotion is just an initial step of the company to help local farmers gain access to the larger market for their organically produced heirloom rice and other indigenous food delicacies that will contribute in efforts to increase their income that will be beneficial in improving their living condition.
“We are elated over the outcome of the initial conduct of the event. We will continue to explore the possibility of coming out with a bigger activities to aggressively promote local delicacies that have been given value added by the chefs who were invited to spice up the conduct of the event in one of the rice plantation sites in the area,” Wijangco stressed.
Dozens of farmers from sitio Obellan, Beleng-Belis, here hosted the COHECO Tawid foundation officials and the team of chefs who stayed in the area for a day to provide them with the knowledge and skills on how to intersperse existing indigenous food with the current trends in the culinary industry, especially in providing value added to the same.
Kapangan and Kibungan towns serve as host to the 60-megawatt run-of-river minihydro power plant which is now on its initial construction stage to help in maximizing the utilization of available sources of renewable energy to provide cheap power for consumers.
Local officials and residents are pinning their hopes for growth and development to the COHECO 60 once its minihydro power plant project will be completed within the next several years.
Wijangco pointed out that farmers have sufficient produce but one of their problems is the availability and consistency of the market, thus, one of the major objectives of the Benguet Heritage Food Promotion is to provide them with the skills and knowledge on how to improve the quality of their produce to gain access to the various markets for them to have a sustainable source of income and for them to keep the organic agriculture thriving in the locality.
Barangay officials also expressed confidence that COH|EC 60 Tawid foundation will be able to replicate the conduct of the food promotion event in a number of barangays in the town so that farmers will be inspired and motivated to sustain the growth of the local organic agriculture industry for the benefit of food self-sufficiency among the people, especially once development will thrive in the area.
Kapangan and Kibugan are two info the less developed municipalities in the province which rely on agriculture as the major source of income of most of the inhabitants.