DA Asst Sec Estoperez vows to address BAPTC’s problems; urges farmers to federate

Photo Caption: OPERATIONS OF BENGUET AGRI-PINOY TRADING CENTER: Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez (center) urges local farmers to federate even as he vows to improve processes in the trading system of the P943- million facility during a press forum held Friday(March 24) at the BAPTC grounds.In the photo Norma P Banania (L)- Chief Operation Officer, BAPTC – Vice President of University Business Affairs, BSU ; Atty. Jennilyn M. Dawayan (R)- Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations, DA-RFO-CAR. – INSET Estoperez and other government officials tour the facility.

Photos by Rayah Jahziel Tayag-UB Intern/ ABN


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet Agriculture Assistant Secretary Rex Estoperez on Friday (March 24) stressed that local farmers should be the one to manage the operations of the multi-million Benguet
Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) to follow the facility’s original vision-mission modernizing farmers access to global markets, building avenues for farmers and consumers to have a better
market access through participator, capability building and provision of innovative technologies and quality facilities.

To date, the national government had invested a total P943 million into the facility, according to lawyer Jennilyn Dawayan, Regional Technical Director for Research and Regulations (DARFO-CAR). Estoperez, also concurrent Chief-of-Staff of the Department of Agriculture (DA), urged local farmers to organize themselves into cooperatives and be federated, as the option to transform BAPTC into a corporation is “still to be firmed up.” “I challenge our farmers to federate.. start it now,” Estoperez said ,even he asked them to look for sponsors suggesting from the traders  to assist the govt develop further the facility.

Estoperez, who led other government officials toured the facility before holding the press forum held at the BAPTC grounds, said he is aware of the issues and problems confronting the facility, and all together vowed to address them. Topping the list of issues to be addressed include utilization of spaces , maintenance and the “insurmountable expenses’ being incurred in the facility. “Sayang naman ang mga resources ng gobierno, may mga solutions pag hindi gumagana, dapat paganain, “
Estoperez stressed ,pointing that each stakeholders must be “progressive minded.”

“Let’s us move forward,” Estoperez rallied stakeholders. In dressing-up the facility, Estoperez acknowledged the vital role of the local government unit of La Trinidad, as it’s their “Kingdom,”
recognizing produced highland vegetables, especially strawberries and cherry tomatoes are “comparable” compared from other producing countries. Pointing BAPTC issues, “We haven’t institutionalized the system.. how can we strengthened if we haven’t identify them, “ the agriculture
official lamented. Some processes to be determined include “the whole trading system.

In doing so, a system of balance should be adopted for both producers and consumer in order to address the impact of cost structure and the supply chain . The government and stakeholders actions should be harmonized and be efficient, leading to more profits for the farmers-traders and
income to lgu’s, the agriculture official said. In a related development, Norma Banania, BAPTC’s Chief Operation Officer and Vice President University Business Affairs (Benguet State University) , also revealed the problems be setting facility includes functionality, traffic in-and-out in the trading areas, and accreditation of farmers and traders.

Banania together with lawyer Dawayan, are united in their stand that the operations of BAPTC and La Trinidad Trading Post should be complementing to each other. The BAPTC COO (Banania) reported that the average volume of highland vegetables being traded posted at 444 metric tons (mt) per day. She added that in 2022, close to 11k farmers,traders utilized the facility. The official
added that BSU acts as “fund manager” of the facility being managed and operated into a “special project” with funds mostly sourced from the agriculture department.Estoperez, who looked in
high spirit during the press conference, likewise, encouraged mediamen to regularly visit the facility and make some write ups , importantly- the efforts of local farmers and traders.

By: Primo Agatep With reports from Ron Christian Nacionales,Tristan John Quiano, Trevor Ayangwa/UB Interns/ABN

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