BAMBANG, Nueva Vizcaya — Organic farmers here are in elation over the proposed construction of a trading center designed to help them market their products and boost their income.
Located near the national highway and the Agriculture Research Training Center(ARTC), the Organic Farmers Trading Center(OFTC) in Barangay Magsaysay in this town is seen as a one-stop-shop among consumers patronizing organically–produced vegetables, poultry and pork.
“Once built, our organic farmers will have their share in marketing their products in a strategic area where commuters can stop by and pick their product choices,” said Fidel Ballesteros, assistant provincial agriculturist.
Funded with PHP.5 million, the OFTC will be constructed jointly by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the provincial government who will also provide counterpart in the form of a lot.
“This project will serve as the major drop point for organically-produced vegetables, fruits and meat. In this way, the products of farmers will be further promoted and can be easily accessed by the patronizers,” Ballesteros said.
Ballesteros said farmers practicing organic farming in the province are now gaining success and promotion with the exposure of their products and model farms through the monthly conduct of Farmers Market Day (FMD) in various municipalities supported by the local government untis concerned, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Japanese government and local non-government organizations.
They also participate in the Farmers to Consumers (F2C) Program between the provincial government, local government of Quezon City and the DA, a market link to enable farmers in Nueva Vizcaya have direct access in Quezon City, thereby eliminating middlemen and earning more income.
Organic farmers in the province also get huge support from other agencies and foreign governments to encourage more farmers to practice organic farming.
The Japanese government for example in 2012 has donated PHP21.3 million to boost the production of organic products by some 100 farmers in Barangays Pingkian and Tidang in Kayapa town, Barangays Bacneng and Sinapaoan in Sta. Fe town, Macalong and Antutot in Kasibu town and Barangays Canabay and Carolotan in Dupax del Sur town.
The fund will also be used in establishing new marketing channels other than middlemen; production of high profit vegetables and fruits using sustainable farming technologies; capacity building and knowledge development of producers in marketing of organic and reduced-chemical produce; involvement of local governments and partners in consolidation of the production environment; and dissemination of techniques and knowledge to other producers in the area.
The fund is part of Japan’s financial assistance through Japanese NGOs in the Philippines amounting to PHP204 million as of April 2012.
The fund was released under the Livelihood Improvement Project(LIP) for upland farmers by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through grant assistance for Japanese NGO projects.
“Our national and local governments are fully supporting organic farming in the country and given with appropriate funding from programs, projects, our organic farmers can be at par with other farmers by improving the quality of their products especially in the wake of the ASEAN Integration,” Ballesteros said. PNA / northboundasia.com