LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol on Thursday created a Technical Working Group (TWG) and gave it two weeks to resolve the issues surrounding the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC).
Piñol enumerated questions that must be given answers to in two weeks’ time to include “who owns BAPTC? – Benguet State University (BSU), DA, local government unit (LGU) of La Trinidad, Benguet or the farmers?”
“How to run the BAPTC? What will be the role of the farmers of Benguet, of the Cordillera Region, and how will the BAPTC be able to help the farmers?”
Piñol said the primary issue the TWG needs to resolve is “why the farmers don’t use the facilities of BAPTC.”
Piñol said there was lack of consultation before the facility was built and “I believe the local officials – mayor of La Trinidad, governor and even Congressman were not consulted.”
“They rushed the construction of the building without really defining what it’s all about,” Piñol added.
“We are here to help the farmers make more money for their products, and this facility is intended to enable the farmers to do that.”
“With the support of the mayor, governor and the Congressman, the vegetable farmers will be able to make this work.”
Piñol confirmed that the Benguet vegetable farmers agreed to changes which will include the hiring of a chief operating officer for the BAPTC who will be under the payroll of the DA-Cordillera Regional Office.
A credit facility will also be opened for the farmer-members of BAPTC for extra capital. PNA/northboundasia.com